Tags: US | Bailout | Warrants

Treasury Sells Wells Warrants for $840.4 Million to Help Pay for Bailout

Friday, 21 May 2010 11:15 AM

A sale of Wells Fargo & Co. warrants has brought the government $840.4 million in the latest move to recoup costs for taxpayers from the $700 billion financial bailout.

The Treasury Department said Friday it sold 110.26 million warrants at a price of $7.70 per warrant. The government had set a minimum bid price of $6.50 per warrant for the auction, which was held Thursday.

A warrant gives the purchaser the right to buy common stock at a fixed price.

Wells Fargo received $25 billion from the bailout fund, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, at the height of the financial crisis in October 2008. It paid that money back in December of last year.

The government received the warrants as bonus to taxpayers for rescuing the banks during the financial crisis.

The sale of the warrants represents the last link Wells Fargo had to TARP. Financial institutions have been eager to cut ties to the bailout program to escape various restrictions imposed on banks. Those include limits on executive compensation.

The Wells Fargo warrants give the holders the right to buy an equal amount of shares of Wells Fargo stock at a price of $34.01 per share.

The auction price of $7.70 means that the stock would need to be selling above $41.71 for an investor to recoup the $7.70 price paid for the warrant and the option price of $34.01 for the stock. Wells Fargo stock closed on Thursday at $28.69.

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