General Motors Returns to the New York Stock Exchange

General Motors’ public stock offering breathed new life into the automaker on Thursday, after it had been beleaguered by debt and rescued by the government during the recession.

General Motors’ public stock offering breathed new life into the automaker on Thursday, which has been beleaguered by debt and rescued by the government during the recession.

The public offering, valued at up to $23 billion, demonstrates GM’s quick turnaround. In 2009, the automaker filed for bankruptcy and received $50 billion in government bailout money, making the government the company’s majority stakeholder.

“I think today this company’s in a place where, two years ago, nobody thought we’d be here,” said Stephen Girsky, head of GM's corporate strategy.

As part of the stock offering, the Federal Treasury unloaded more than 400 of its shares, reducing the government’s stake in GM to 37 percent.

After GM’s chief executive Dan Akerson rang the New York Stock Exchange's opening bell and played the sound of a revving engine, the automaker’s shares opened at $35 per share, up from $33, the price per common share that General Motors set on Wednesday.

Girsky said going public is an important step in getting rid of the "government motors" label.

“It's a very emotional day. It's an emotional day for many of the people, not just in Detroit or Michigan but across the country, and our employees, our dealers, our suppliers should all be proud of what's gone on here,” Girsky said.

The stock offering is part of the company’s new approach, which includes a new business model that focuses on efficiency and exposure in emerging markets like China and Brazil, he added.