* Treasury offering 234.2 million AIG shares
* Offer worth $7.8 bln at Monday's closing share price of
* U.S. rescued company from collapse in 2008
WASHINGTON, Dec 10 The U.S. Treasury is selling
its remaining stake in insurer American International Group Inc
, bringing an end to government ownership of the company
about four years after it was rescued from the brink of
The sale will close the chapter on one of the most
politically contentious government rescues and turn a profit for
taxpayers, a development once seen as inconceivable.
In a statement on Monday, the Treasury said it launched an
underwritten public offering for its remaining 234.2 million
shares of common stock.
At Monday's closing share price of $33.36, the stake would
be worth some $7.81 billion.
Treasury said that the sale, which is expected to price
imminently, would be jointly led by Bank of America Merrill
Lynch, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank,
Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Treasury also said it would continue to hold warrants to buy
common stock even after the share offering is complete.
In September 2008, AIG was rescued minutes before it would
have been forced to file for bankruptcy protection. The massive
bailout ultimately totaled $182.5 billion.
At one point, the government estimated it would never be
able to recover all of those funds. But as AIG restructured and
returned to viability, it was able to repay the entire rescue
plus generate a profit for U.S. taxpayers.
AIG was one of the Treasury Department's most contentious
bailouts. U.S. lawmakers began calling for Treasury Secretary
Timothy Geithner's resignation after it was revealed that AIG
paid $165 million in retention bonuses to employees of a unit
that is blamed for destroying the company through investment in
It prompted Republican lawmaker Charles Grassley to call for
AIG executives to resign or commit suicide, though the Iowa
senator eventually backtracked from those comments.
The company also funneled over $90 billion of taxpayer money
- more than half the funds the government used to rescue AIG -
to various European and Wall Street banks, including Goldman
Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Barclays Plc.
Robert Benmosche, the former CEO of MetLife, took
over as CEO of AIG in August 2009, replacing Edward Liddy, who
had been installed by the U.S. government. He will ultimately
get the lion's share of the credit for turning the company
around and preventing a fire sale of its assets.
In September, Benmosche said the company may be in a
position to consider a dividend by next summer.