General Motors Co. will purchase $5.5 billion of its stock from the U.S. Treasury, moving the government a step closer to ending the controversial bailout of the auto industry.

GM will buy 200 million shares for $27.50 each, a 7.9 percent premium over yesterday's closing price, the automaker said today. Treasury will still hold about 300 million shares, or 19 percent on a fully diluted basis, after the transaction and plans to sell its entire holding within 15 months, GM said.

The deal for 13 percent of the automaker's stock helps the Obama administration recoup part of the $49.5 billion invested in GM, the biggest piece of an industry bailout that became a centerpiece of the president's first term in office and that drew criticism from Republican opponents. Cutting the stake could be good for GM's image and its stock.

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