General Motors’ activist investor succeeds in share buyback battle

Adam Hignett
GENERAL Motors (GM) announced a $5bn (£3.3bn) a share buyback yesterday, ending a two-month standoff with activist investor Harry J. Wilson.

The Detroit car giant came close to collapse in 2009 as the financial crisis took hold, and was forced to file for bankruptcy, relying on a $51bn US government bailout.

But the company has seen a remarkable turnaround, with the firm recording pre-tax profits of $4.2bn for 2014. It is on the back of this success that Wilson requested the board use some of its $25bn cash pile to fund an $8bn buy back of shares.

Wilson, who served on President Barack Obama’s car industry taskforce, had been pushing for buyback alongside four hedge funds.

In addition, Wilson had been seeking a seat on the board, a request he has subsequently dropped in the wake of the new announcement.

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