U.S. To Sell $18 Billion In Shares Of AIG

The U.S. government has announced it will sell at least $18 billion worth of shares of American International Group. During the financial crisis in 2008, the struggling insurance company was rescued with a government bailout. The federal government became AIG's majority stakeholder, but had promised that it was not a long-term investor.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the USG selling some AIG.

The USG would be the U.S. government, which has announced it will sell at least $18 billion worth of shares of American International Group. You'll recall that during the financial crisis in 2008, the struggling insurance company was rescued with a government bailout. The federal government became AIG's majority stakeholder, but had promised that it was not a long-term investor. So with this latest sale, the government will become a minority shareholder for the first time since the rescue years ago.

The U.S. will still hold onto about 20 percent of AIG for the moment. AIG has said it will take part of the selloff buying back $5 billion worth of its own shares from the Treasury Department. Government officials, by the way, say they expect to turn a profit, which would be seen as crucial for President Obama and his campaign as he seeks to defend unpopular bank bailouts.

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