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Canada, Ontario Sell $1.1 Billion in GM Shares to Reduce Stake

Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Canadian and Ontario governments agreed to sell 30 million General Motors Co. shares worth about $1.1 billion to Bank of America Corp. and Royal Bank of Canada in a block trade.

With the sale, the two governments reduced their stake in the largest U.S. automaker by 21 percent to 110 million shares, according to a statement today. Canada and Ontario were the third-largest shareholders in Detroit-based GM after they helped bail out the carmaker.

“As we said from the start, our investment in GM was always meant to be temporary as we worked to maximize the return to Canadian taxpayers,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in a statement. “The government of Canada is committed to exiting from ownership of GM as quickly as feasible, while maximizing the return for Canadian taxpayers, as we demonstrated today.”

The sale will be completed Sept. 16, the department of finance said in the statement. The shares were sold to the banks at today’s closing price, minus a discount, the government said.

Before today’s sale, the federal and Ontario governments together held 140 million common shares in GM, or a 10 percent stake, valued at $5.1 billion at the current stock price, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

GM rose 1.4 percent to $37 in New York trading today. The stock has gained 28 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katia Dmitrieva in Toronto at edmitrieva1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net

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