AIG Falls Below $1, Losing Half of Value Since Rescue (Update1)

By Hugh Son and Edgar Ortega
Bloomberg News
February 5, 2009

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- American International Group Inc., once the world's largest insurer, fell below $1, crossing the threshold at which shares may be delisted by the New York Stock Exchange if they fail to recover.

The insurer, bailed out by the U.S. last year in a rescue now valued at about $150 billion, slipped 2 cents to $1.01 at 2:28 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading after falling as low as 99 cents. That's less than half the price on Sept. 17, the day after AIG agreed to turn over a majority stake to the U.S. to avoid collapse.

AIG, which committed to sell most of its businesses to repay the government, had to restructure its bailout last year after reduced access to credit constricted the ability of potential buyers to bid on the company's units. AIG has struck deals to sell operations from Connecticut to the Philippines to raise more than $2.3 billion, compared with the $38.9 billion the insurer tapped from a U.S. credit line as of Dec. 31.

"You can't possibly pay the taxpayer back by liquidating the company, or a major part of it," former Chief Executive Officer Maurice "Hank" Greenberg said in an interview last month. "How do you pick the most devastating time in memory to say, 'We're going to sell all these assets now?" Greenberg controls the largest stake of AIG shares after the government.

The New York Stock Exchange may start delisting proceedings for companies whose 30-day average price falls below $1. The process may be halted if the stock slide reverses or a company does a reverse split to boost the share price.

Bad Bets

The stock closed at $52.93 on Feb. 5 of last year and more than $103 on Dec. 8, 2000. The insurer posted more than $40 billion in net losses over four quarters on bad bets tied to the U.S. housing market.

AIG was replaced last year in the 30-member Dow Jones Industrial Average by Kraft Foods Inc. after the government rescue.

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