U.S. Treasury to sell $18 billion in AIG stock

By David Gura

The U.S. Treasury plans to sell $18 billion in AIG stock, cutting the U.S. government’s stake in the once-troubled financial firm to less than half for the first time since it bailed out AIG in 2008. Four years ago, in the teeth of the U.S. financial crash, the U.S. Treasury Department bailed out insurance giant American International Group (AIG) to the tune of $182 billion. It essentially bought the company, at one point owning more than 90 percent. Since then, AIG’s seen something of a turnaround, and the government is selling off part of its stake in the company. The Treasury plans to sell $18 billion worth of AIG shares, The Wall Street Journal reports. Marketplace’s David Gura has been following the story from Washington. David Gura: The government said from the start that it did not want to be a long-term shareholder of AIG or any of the companies it bailed out, for that matter. The government said it wanted to get out as soon as it could and hopefully break even. Now it looks like in this case the government will actually make a profit. I talked to Karen Petrou, with Federal Financial Analytics, and she says that is beside the point: “If Treasury makes money, that is no validation for a policy,” Petrou said. “It just means that it isn’t as bad as it could have been.”