In what could now be the largest initial public offering in world history, a reinvigorated GM plans to sell 478 million shares, netting close to 23 billion dollars in the expected flotation Thursday. Amid stronger-than-anticipated investor demand the firm -- once at the epicenter of US manufacturing -- has gradually ramped up its expected windfall from 26 dollars per share to as much as 33 dollars in the hours before the sale. Along with supplementary sales, that could net more than the record 22.1 billion dollar IPO posted by the Agricultural Bank of China in July, according to market research firm Dealogic. Investors from Asia to the United States to the Middle East have expressed interest in getting a piece of a firm that was once the biggest carmaker in the world. And according to Chinese state media, GM's partner in China, Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp (SAIC), is eyeing a one percent stake worth 500 million dollars. The sale will sound a death knell for the "Government Motors" moniker, but not bury it completely. President Barack Obama will see the US Treasury's share in the firm shrink from nearly 61 percent to slightly over 40 percent overnight, while claiming back some of the 50 billion taxpayer dollars spent to save the company. If shares are massively oversubscribed the government's stake could even fall to 33 percent, according to rating agency Standard & Poor's. Robert Schultz, an analyst with S&P, said a successful IPO will encourage consumers who were "hesitant to engage with GM because of the bailout and public ownership." "The purpose of the IPO is to begin to shift ownership of GM to the public from the three main shareholders: the US Treasury, the United Auto Workers union, and the Canadian government," he added in a client note. The Canadian and Ontario governments have an 11.7 percent holding, and the United Auto Workers union's retiree health care trust fund owns a 19.93 percent stake. The return of GM to the New York Stock Exchange after an 18-month hiatus could also make it easier for the company to raise capital as it continues to address pension underfunding and shifts away from gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles (SUVs) toward greener, electric and fuel-efficient vehicles. The company was forced to delist after filing for bankruptcy protection on June 1, 2009 amid plummeting sales, high debt, union disputes and as recession-hit consumers became increasingly unable to secure loans. A successful sale would also provide a victory for Obama as his administration moves beyond an election "shellacking" fueled -- in part -- by anger at government bailouts. But GM will still owe the government about 20 billion dollars, or roughly 40 percent of its original bailout.