When the government finally sells all of its shares, it will end a sad chapter in GM's history. The company nearly ran out of cash in 2008 and needed government money to survive a trip through bankruptcy reorganization. Since then, GM has posted 12 straight quarters of profits. Last year, the company bought 200 million of its shares from the government for $5.5 billion.
The bailout has rankled many taxpayers who thought the government shouldn't have interfered with the company's business. Some still call GM "Government Motors."
GM shares sold for $33 each when they began publicly trading again in November, 2010. The shares rose shortly after the sale but fell dramatically early last year as the U.S. economy slowed and Europe headed toward recession. A strengthening U.S. auto sales recovery and the stock buyback pushed the price back above $30 toward the end of the year.