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At some point in the not too distant future, General Motors will return to being a publicly traded company, with the timing likely to be based in part on both business and politics. In May, the automaker began soliciting investment banks to handle the sale of its stock. With what will likely be one of the largest public stock offerings of all time, the banks are undoubtedly salivating at the potential fees they will collect in the process.

It looks like General Motors could file its first paperwork for an initial public stock offering as soon as next week. The IPO registration is the first step in the process of getting approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to become a publicly traded company again. A stock sale could come as soon as November and probably no later than early 2011.

The government of the United States may be actively avoiding any direct involvement in the day-to-day management of General Motors, but that doesn't mean it won't have a say when the time comes for the automaker to go public again. According to The Detroit News, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has hired investment bank Lazard Frères & Co. to provide it with advice on the initial public offering process.

Massachusetts-based battery maker A123 Systems finally completed its initial public offering on Thursday. The lithium ion start-up offered 28,180,501 shares of its common stock at an opening price of $13.50 a share. Apparently, traders on the Nasdaq exchange thought the price was too low and quickly bid it up to a first day closing price of $20.29 a share, a healthy 50-percent gain. For those interested in following the stock, it is listed under the ticker symbol AONE on the NASDAQ listings.

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