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May 19, 2009

Why private equity is taking money from public markets

The mighty company of GM is now worth a $1 per share, a level not seen since the 1930s. What is odd is that of the 22 insiders listed (see Yahoo Finance) a full 10 of these "officers" and "directors" have zero shares in the company. Mr. Wagoner, the previous CEO was holding a mere 35,290 shares currently valued at about $38,500. All insiders together own a total of only about $145,000 worth of shares in the company. And this is not a recent development. The more pronounced insider sales occurred in 2007/2008 and this raises lots of questions particularly with regard to the requests for bailout money.
These company executives apparently did not have much faith in their own firm and yet, they expected the US taxpayer to effectively own them - hmm...
So where are bailouts going? I hope the American people can demand answers.
If a private equity fund was asked to invest in such a company and they didn't see the same commitment from the senior executives, why should they put in money? The US taxpayers should ask the very same question or rather, the US government, on behalf of the US taxpayers.
Yet another example of the difference between private equity fund boards and public market boards. When you are putting in your own money, you want clear answers and results.

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