Sep 16, 2008

Fed takes over AIG

From CNN:

Federal officials will take 80% stake in the nation's largest insurer in an $85 billion rescue plan to prevent financial chaos worldwide.

In a stunning turn, the Federal Reserve Board is taking over crumbling insurer American International Group in an $85 billion rescue plan, officials announced Tuesday evening.

The Fed authorized the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to lend AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) up to $85 billion. In return, the federal government will receive a 79.9% stake in the company.

Officials decided they must act lest the nation's largest insurer file bankruptcy. Such a move would roil world markets since AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) has $1.1 trillion in assets and 74 million clients in 130 countries.
Somehow, this doesn't surprise me one iota. What makes this even more heinous imho...this is an insurance company, that evidently has broken federal laws about being able to cover their own ass.

Update: The NYT is reporting its NOT a done deal yet:

With time running out after A.I.G. failed to get a bank loan to avoid bankruptcy, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and the Fed chairman Ben S. Bernanke convened a meeting with House and Senate leaders on Capitol Hill about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to explain the rescue plan.

They emerged just after 7:30 p.m. with Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke looking grim, but with top lawmakers generally expressing support for the plan. But the bailout is likely to prove controversial, because it effectively puts taxpayer money at risk while protecting bad investments made by A.I.G. and other institutions it does business with.

What frightened Fed and Treasury officials was not simply the prospect of another giant corporate bankruptcy, but A.I.G.’s role as an enormous provider of financial insurance to investors who bought complex debt securities. That effectively required A.I.G. to cover losses suffered by the buyers in the event the securities defaulted. It meant A.I.G. was potentially on the hook for billions of dollars worth of risky securities that were once considered safe.

But its real fucking close...

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