Goldman Sachs wises up on stock warrants

The investment firm pays a nice $1.1 billion to buy back warrants it gave the U.S. in return for TARP funds.

By Allan Sloan, senior editor at large

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Goldman Sachs has wised up.

Just a few days ago, the firm was haggling with the government over how much to pay for the stock-purchase warrants it gave the government as part of the deal under which it got $10 billion from the Toxic Asset Relief Program, which it has since repaid.

Today, Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) announced it has redeemed the warrants for a nice price (for the taxpayers): $1.1 billion. That's apparently about double what Goldman was offering when I wrote a few days ago that Goldman was "squabbling with the Treasury about how much it should pay."

I wrote that Goldman was acting foolish and ungrateful in haggling over the price of the warrants, given that only the government's massive assistance to the world financial system kept Goldman afloat.

"We are grateful for the government effort," chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said, striking the right note in a news release.

Company spokesman Lucas van Praag, who called to make sure I knew about the news, had one final point to make: "There was never any squabbling," he told me.

Objection noted. As is the extra $500 million or so. To top of page

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