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Downtrodden GM stock gets a boost from electric-vehicle spinoff speculation

August 18, 2020, 3:58 PM UTC

General Motors’ beaten-down stock price could triple if the carmaker spins off its burgeoning electric-vehicle business, according to a Wall Street analyst.

Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner notes that with the stock market’s euphoria over other EV makers like Tesla, GM’s shares could hit $93 if the company spins off a stake in its EV business on the stock market. The carmaker is likely “actively evaluating the option,” Rosner wrote in a report on Monday. Such a move “would force the market to recognize (GM’s) robust EV technology and upcoming vehicle lineup and unlock considerable shareholder value.”

Other analysts have been similarly excited by the prospect. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas notes that GM’s EV business plus the stake in its battery joint venture with LG, called Ultium Cells LLC, could propel the stock higher. “It’s about time Tesla had more competition, right?” Jonas wrote in a report on Tuesday. He raised his price target for GM stock to $46.

GM shares have gained as much as 21% in August so far on speculation about the possible EV spinoff. Trading was at $30.10 midday on Tuesday; however, the stock has still lost 18% this year and gained a total of less than 5% over the past five years.

“We haven’t announced anything and we don’t comment on speculation,” the company told Fortune Tuesday.

CEO Mary Barra was previously asked about the possibility of spinning off the business on GM’s quarterly earnings call with analysts in July, but didn’t give a detailed answer.

“We are evaluating and always evaluate many different scenarios,” she replied. “We are open to looking at and evaluate anything that we think is going to drive long-term shareholder value. So I would say nothing is off the table.”

GM unveiled its first all-electric Cadillac on Aug. 6. The LYRIQ SUV will have a range of over 300 miles and start at $60,000 when it hits the market in 2022. The company already sells the Chevrolet Bolt EV and has announced a revival of its Hummer SUV brand returning as an EV next year.

A potential spinoff would come as investors are growing excited about the possibilities of electric-car sales exploding over the next decade. Shares of Tesla, the market leader, have nearly quadrupled this year, giving Elon Musk’s company a stock market value of $355 billion. Smaller electric-vehicle makers like Workhouse Group and Arcimoto have done even better, seeing their stock prices rise fivefold.

That’s prompting more companies in the sector to go public, including Fisker, which announced its plan last month. On Tuesday, Canoo said it planned to raise $600 million and list on the stock market by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company.