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Bankers gather to pitch for AIG share sale

Some of the top bankers in the United States flocked to a midtown Manhattan law firm yesterday to make a pitch for managing what could be one of the largest share sales in history: a secondary offering of potentially $20 billion for bailed-out insurer American International Group Inc.

The bankers were expected to offer a cut-rate fee, trading profits for the prestige of managing a historic offering and getting in line for future underwriting business from the company. Those chosen will probably share a fee of about $150 million if the deal hits the $20-billion level, between the shares sold by the U.S. Treasury and those offered directly by the insurance giant, a source familiar with the situation said.

At that size, the AIG offering would rank as one of the 10 largest share sales of any kind in history.

JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon was among the executives attending the meeting. Asked how the meeting went as he left, Dimon laughed and said: "How'd what go?"

Morgan Stanley chief James Gorman left the building of the Davis Polk & Wardwell law firm shortly after Dimon's arrival. Bank of America Corp's Brian Moynihan also attended.

After a recapitalization deal closes Friday, the Treasury will own 92.1 percent of AIG. The government rescued AIG from the brink of failure in September 2008 in a bailout that topped $182 billion.

Sources have said the first share sale would most likely occur after mid-May, once AIG has filed its first-quarter report with securities regulators, but the sale could happen as soon as March if conditions are right. AIG shares ended down $1.21, or 2.07 percent, Thursday to close at $57.19. Reuters

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