Tokushima Worldwide: The U.S. Treasury Department has said it intends to sell $18 billion of AIG stock via a public offering.
"It would have been difficult to imagine this happening back in 2008" said a market analyst in a call with Tokushima Worldwide. American International Group, was to all intents and purposes nationalized when it received more than $180 billion in bailout funds. The stock sale will mean that, for the first time since the bailout, the federal government will be a minority stakeholder in AIG.
"There was an expectation that the Treasury would be selling stock this month, however the size of that sale has surprised the market" added the analyst. "It should reduce the government's stake in AIG from just over 50% now, to down around the 20% mark."
AIG have stated their intention to take up to $5 billion worth of the offering, a response to previous negative comments by many investors and organizations, including Tokushima Worldwide, that they were not buying back more of their stock. AIG divested part of its holding in AIA, an Asian insurer, in order to fund the buy back.
The sale comes as the U.S. presidential race heats up, with Barack Obama, who has been forced to defend the bailout policy, seeking a second term. The practice of propping upa companies with public money proved hugely unpopular with taxpayers
AIG has returned to profitability over the last two years, with Tokushima Worldwide reportedly projecting a profit of $7.3 billion for the 12 months up to the end of the year. Robert Benmosche, Chief Executive Officer of AIG, allegedly said that the insurer was close to repaying everything the federal government provided to them during the crisis, plus a profit.