Treasury Department, which now owns GM after last year's bailout and bankruptcy, has hired an investment bank to help facility IPO. GM could go public as early as the end of the year.

The Treasury Department of the United States is setting things in motion to take General Motors public.

The government has hired New York-based investment bank Lazard Freres & Co. to help facilitate an IPO (initial public offering where shares of the company became available for purchase on the stock market) for which it will be paying a healthy $500,000 per month fee if Lazard Freres is able to take the company public within 12 months. Otherwise, the monthly fee will be cut in half. The investment bank's services had previously been used by the United Auto Workers union to audit GM's books back in 2007.

When GM went bankrupt last year, the U.S. government which had provided it with bailout funds was left as the majority owner. The U.S. Treasury provided $50 billion to GM, of which it repaid $6.7 billion, the rest was converted to 61 percent ownership of the new GM after the automaker emerged from bankruptcy last year.

GM recently reported first quarter revenues were up 40 percent over the same period in 2009, sales were up 17 percent and the company turned a profit in North America for the first time in years.

According to GM CEO, Ed Whitacre, plans are for an IPO to take place in late 2010 or early 2011.

But the company remains cautious in its outlook.

"Certainly over the next year, there's a possibility we could do an IPO, but the market's got to be ready, the automobile industry has to continue to improve and we have to continue to improve," said Chris Liddell, GM's CFO.