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) -- President Obama applauded the strong pricing of

General Motors'


initial public offering on Wednesday.

"General Motors' initial public offering (IPO) marks a major milestone in the turnaround of not just an iconic company but the entire American auto industry," the

statement reads

. "Through the IPO, the government will cut its stake in GM by nearly half, continuing our disciplined commitment to exit this investment while protecting the American taxpayer."


priced its IPO at the top of its range shortly after the closing bell, saying it's going to sell 478 million common shares at $33 each

to raise about $15.77 billion. The company also sold $4.35 billion worth of junior preferred stock.

In total, GM raised roughly $20.1 billion, which could rise to $23.1 billion if over-allotment options for the sale of additional securities are completely exercised. GM had

originally sought to sell 365 million common shares for between $26 and $29 each.

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The Treasury Department said it sold 358.5 million common shares in the IPO, reducing its ownership stake in the company to 36.9% from 60.8%. If the overallotment option is fully exercised, the Treasury would sell an additional 54 million shares, potentially lowering the government's stake to 33.3%.

"GM's initial public offering is an important step in the turnaround of the company and for our work to recover taxpayer dollars and exit this investment as soon as practicable," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in a


. "It is now widely recognized that the taxpayers' investment not only helped save jobs during the worst economic crisis in a generation but also gave the auto industry a solid foundation on which to build."

Obama echoed this sentiment about the wider impact of GM's bailout in his statement as well.

"Supporting the American auto industry required tough decisions and shared sacrifices, but it helped save jobs, rescue an industry at the heart of America's manufacturing sector, and make it more competitive for the future," Obama said.

GM shares will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the company's old symbol 'GM.'


Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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Michael Baron


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