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AIG reduces debt by selling subsidiaries for $25 billion

AIG reduces debt by selling subsidiaries for $25 billion

Follow the money: Bailout tracker

NEW YORK ( — AIG announced Tuesday that it completed a deal wiping out $25 billion of its debt to taxpayers by selling stakes in two subsidiaries to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The troubled insurer gave the New York Fed preferred shares of two of its international life insurance companies, including $16 billion of American International Assurance Co. and $9 billion of American Life Insurance Co. The deal was originally announced in March.

The deal brings the New York-based insurer’s debt to the New York Fed down to $17 billion. AIG also still owes the U.S. Treasury $44.8 billion from a separate Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) loan, so the insurer still owes taxpayers just under $62 billion.

AIG Chief Executive Bob Benmosche said, in a press release, that the debt reduction “sends a clear message to taxpayers: AIG continues to make good on its commitment to pay the American people back.”

AIG’s (AIG, Fortune 500) stock rose more than 4% on the news in morning trading.

“The agreements further the goals of enabling AIG to fully repay the assistance that it has received from U.S. taxpayers and advancing the company’s global restructuring process,” the New York Fed said in a statement when the deal was first announced in March.

The Federal Bank of New York initially provided $85 billion worth of support to AIG in September 2008, when the company was on the brink of collapse. AIG’s government rescue plan has since been restructured three times, and its total bailout is now worth up to $182 billion.

But much of that bailout has come in the form of government asset purchases that AIG does not need to repay. In addition to the $25 billion announced on Tuesday, the government in March bought up nearly $40 billion of insurance agreements and mortgage-backed securities held by AIG and its business partners.

To pay back the remaining $62 billion it owes the government, AIG will continue to sell off its assets. Despite recording two straight profitable quarters, AIG has said it will not generate enough earnings to repay taxpayers with profits alone.

AIG said Tuesday’s transaction will force the company to take a hefty $5.7 billion restructuring charge in the current quarter, which will likely wipe out any profits AIG would have registered in the last three months of 2009.

Despite the government support, the company still faces a steep uphill battle to return to health. Shares of the insurer tumbled 15% Monday, after Bernstein Research analyst Todd Bault told investors that he cut the 12-month price target to $12 a share from $20 because the insurer’s “loss reserves are significantly deficient again, much sooner than we would have forecast two years ago.”

On Nov. 25, AIG announced that it had resolved its legal dispute with former chairman Maurice “Hank” Greenberg


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