THE DEAL (The Deal) -- Canada said late Tuesday it has sold approximately 30 million shares of General Motors (GM) for about $1.1 billion, continuing the process by governments to exit the automaker four years after GM received a massive bailout.
The Canadian Ministry of Finance office confirmed that Canada GEN Investment Corp. sold the shares, about 20% of its total holdings, to Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) and RBC Capital Markets in an unregistered block trade.
Shares of GM closed at $37 apiece on Tuesday.
The sale comes days after the U.S. Treasury Department disclosed it has sold about $811 million worth of GM stock in August. Post-sales, the U.S. owns about 186 million shares of the automaker and Canada GEN holds about 110 million common shares.
The U.S. has said it hopes to exit its GM investment by early 2014, and Canadian officials in a statement Tuesday expressed a similar desire.
"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," Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty said.
"The government of Canada is committed to exiting from ownership of GM as quickly as feasible," he added, "while maximizing the return for Canadian taxpayers, as we demonstrated today."
The U.S., Canadian and Ontario governments received the shares in 2009 as part of a nearly $60 billion bailout and restructuring of the automaker, which otherwise would have run out of cash during the great recession.