The Treasury has initially granted the underwriter Morgan Stanley authorization to sell 1.5 billion of the shares, Citigroup said Monday in a registration statement filed with securities regulators. The filing allowed the Treasury to begin selling as soon as Monday, said two people with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to comment beyond the public statements.

The Treasury's overall stake has a value of about $36 billion, representing a paper profit of $11 billion for the agency. The government got the shares by converting $25 billion of bailout money into common stock at $3.25 each.

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