Auction of warrants from insurance company Lincoln National brings government $213.7 million

The government says it has raised $213.7 million from the sale of warrants it held in Lincoln National Corp. It is the latest move to recoup costs for taxpayers from the $700 billion financial bailout.

The Treasury Department said Friday that it sold 13.05 million warrants at a price of $16.60 per warrant. The government had set a minimum bid price of $13.50 for the warrants, which give the purchaser the right to buy common stock at a fixed price.

The government obtained the warrants when it provided $950 million to Lincoln National in July 2009. The Radnor, Pa., company, which goes by the name Lincoln Financial Group, was one of several insurance companies receiving government support during the financial crisis.

Lincoln paid the government back on June 30 of this year and the auction of the warrants will cut its final ties to the bailout fund, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Banks and other financial institutions have been eager to sever ties to the bailout program so that they can escape various restrictions, including limits on dividend payments and executive compensation.

By purchasing the warrants, holders will have the right to buy an equal amount of Lincoln National stock at a price of $10.92 per share.

The auction price of $16.60 means that the stock would need to be selling at $27.52 per share for an investor to recoup the $13.50 paid for the warrant and the option price of $10.92 per share.

Lincoln National shares rose 18 cents to $24.90 in pre-market trading Friday. Over the past year, its shares have traded in a range of $20.65 to $33.55.