Report: AIG Eyes Federal Backstop on Assets, Recapitalization Options

February 2, 2009

American International Group, the insurer rescued from collapse by the government in September, is in discussions with Washington about a federal backstop for some of its assets, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

AIG is also considering selling units through public offerings, the newspaper reported, citing an interview with AIG Vice Chairman Paula Reynolds.

“We’re looking at a broader array of recapitalization options,” Reynolds said.

“We both realize that the environment’s changing and we have to adjust to that environment,” she said, referring to the federal government.

Backstopping the insurer’s assets would be similar to guarantees the government provided for assets belonging to Citigroup and Bank of America , the Journal reported.

“We are consulting closely with the U.S. government in conjunction with our restructuring,” AIG spokeswoman Christina Pretto told Reuters.

Officials at the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The government rescued AIG in September with a loan from the Federal Reserve, as the insurer faced a cash crunch from losses on securities tied to mortgages. AIG has also received a capital infusion from the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Additional reporting by Paritosh Bansal in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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