BANGALORE (Reuters) – American International Group Inc (AIG.N) is in talks with U.S. officials to formulate a plan that would speed up the insurer’s exit from government ownership, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The exit plan could be rolled out as early as the first half of 2011 and is designed to repay the U.S. taxpayers in full, the Journal said.
As per the plan, the Treasury department may convert $49 billion in AIG preferred shares it owns into common shares.
This move would increase the government’s ownership stake in the insurance company to above 90 percent, from 79.8 percent currently, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
However, after the conversion, the common shares would be sold off to private investors in a phased manner, a move that would reduce U.S. ownership and potentially earn the government a profit if the shares rise in value, the newspaper said.
“Our objectives remain the same: to repay taxpayers and position AIG over time as a strong, independent company worthy of investorconfidence,” an AIG spokeswoman told the Journal.
She declined to provide details of the exit plan, the Journal said.
AIG could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.
AIG was bailed out by the U.S. government two years ago from near-collapse with a $182.3 billion taxpayer-funded rescue package.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)