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.
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