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GM’s $27 Billion Cash Hoard Seen Tempting Activists: Real M&A

General Motors Co. will be a tempting target for activist investors if it doesn’t quickly return cash to shareholders from what the automaker calls its “fortress balance sheet.”

The U.S. Treasury Department said last week it expects to sell its remaining 31.1 million GM common shares by year-end, depending on market conditions, to end an almost half decade of government oversight. The exit makes GM a possible target for activist investors, who may push the company to pay out some of its $26.8 billion in cash through a dividend or stock buyback, said Harry J. Wilson, a member of the U.S. auto task force that helped rebuild the automaker in a 2009 bankruptcy.