AIG to raise up to $6.5 billion through AIA share sale: sources

Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:55am EST
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By Elzio Barreto

HONG KONG (Reuters) - American International Group Inc may raise as much as $6.5 billion from the sale of its remaining stake in AIA Group Ltd in Asia's second-largest block sale ever, exiting a business the U.S. insurer helped found nearly 100 years ago.

AIG (AIG.N: Quote) is offering its 13.69 percent stake in AIA (1299.HK: Quote), or 1.65 billion shares, in a range of HK$29.65-HK$30.65 apiece, sources with direct knowledge of the plan said.

That is a discount of up to 6.3 percent to AIA's close at HK$31.65 in Hong Kong on Friday, the sources said, declining to be identified as the terms of the offering weren't yet public. Trading of AIA was suspended on Monday at the company's request.

The sale marks the end of an era for AIG in Asia and its Chief Executive Robert Benmosche, who took AIA public in Hong Kong in the world's third-biggest initial public offering ever.

AIG was forced to sell parts of its massive business after the U.S. government bailed the company out in 2008 as it teetered on the brink of collapse. The United States ultimately sent $182 billion on the rescue. AIA was one of the assets it put up for sale.

Since AIA's $20.5 billion IPO, its shares have soared about 61 percent and become a top choice of fund managers looking to benefit from growing wealth in Asia and booming demand for insurance and other financial products.

The widely expected block offering of Asia's third-biggest insurer will be surpassed only by Vodafone plc's (VOD.L: Quote) $6.6 billion stake sale in China Mobile (0941.HK: Quote) two years ago. The offering also comes one week after a lockup on the shares expired, adding to two other rounds of AIA share sales earlier this year that had raised about $8 billion in total.

Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE: Quote) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: Quote) were hired as joint global coordinators for the offering, with Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote) also acting as bookrunners.   Continued...

A banner for American International Group Inc (AIG) hangs on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange, Ocotber 16, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid