US to sell $18 billion in AIG shares

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The U.S. government is selling an additional $18 billion of its shares in insurer American International Group Inc., the company and the Treasury Department announced Sunday.

The sale would reduce the Treasury Department’s holdings to less than a majority stake in the company.

The U.S. had acquired those shares after it pledged more than $182 billion to bail out AIG in exchange for a 92 percent ownership stake in September 2008, when the company nearly collapsed, marking the largest corporate rescue of the global financial crisis.

AIG ended up using about $125 billion of the amount pledged.

Since then, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have been unwinding that stake through periodic sales.

The latest sale will mark the government’s fifth sale of AIG stock in the last two years.

In August, the U.S. sold $5 billion of the company’s stock, reducing its stake in the company to 55 percent from 61 percent.

The Federal Reserve said in August that U.S. taxpayers had earned $17.7 billion from the central bank’s role in bailing out the insurance giant.

As has been the case in past sales, the shares will be sold to institutional investors. AIG said it would buy back $5 billion worth.

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