SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – General Motors Co. on Wednesday filed for an initial share offering that will mark the return of what was once the world’s largest automaker to public markets a year after it was bailed out by the government.

GM, 61 percent owned by the federal government, didn’t disclose the number of shares that will be sold in the initial public offering or the price range in a statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The automaker will not sell any common shares itself while offering preferred shares alongside the IPO, the filing showed.

The Treasury Department will sell some of the common shares it owns in GM, according to the filing. The aim is to sell a fifth of the Treasury’s 304 million shares, people familiar with the IPO said in June, cutting the government’s stake to less than 50 percent. GM may hold the IPO in November.

“This is a really positive thing for General Motors to be able to reduce the government’s equity in the company and to be able to run as a capitalist company should be able to run,” said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at IHS Automotive in Lexington, Mass.

GM may seek to raise as much as $16 billion in the IPO, a person familiar with the plans said last week, making it the second-largest in U.S. history behind Visa Inc.’s $19.7 billion deal in March 2008. Outgoing Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre has pushed to end government ownership of the Detroit-based company, which received a $50 billion taxpayer bailout following its bankruptcy in June 2009.

Whitacre, 68, said last week that he would step down as CEO Sept. 1 and as chairman at the end of the year, ceding both titles to Dan Akerson, a managing director of the Carlyle Group. Akerson, 61, has been on GM’s board since July 2009 and previously served as chairman and CEO of XO Communications, Nextel Communications and General Instrument Corp.

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. will lead the offering, the filing showed.