AIG selling property to pay back aid

American International Group (AIG) announced this morning that it agreed to sell what is called a "prized Tokyo property" to Nippon Life Insurance for $1.2 billion. The property is located next to the Imperial Palace, has roughly one acre of land and the AIG Otemachi Building.

The transaction, which falls in line with what was expected when the property was put up for sale in February, should close during the second quarter and it will be paid in cash.

This sale is part of a larger program started by AIG that includes selling real estate and "other assets" in order to pay back the government. That is why I am a fan of this move -- at least it shows that the company is trying. Yes, AIG still owes the government $85 billion and $1.2 billion is basically a drop in the bucket, but it is something.

Please understand, this move only tempers the rage I (and many others) feel toward AIG for getting themselves into this situation. That said, the property they jettisoned easily could have been kept. The property would be a crown jewel for any company. Perhaps that is why AIG decided to get rid of the property -- they felt that it was drawing too much attention of the wrong sort.

Nevertheless, this is a start, but the company is going to have to do a lot more to quell the national outrage that boils when someone simply mentions the name AIG. My question is, when is the company going to ditch its sponsorship of Manchester United? That sponsorship has got to cost AIG some pretty coin (14 million pounds to be exact), so let's lose the sponsorship in order to make back a bit more cash. Perhaps becoming totally internet-based could help AIG. Liquidate all the remaining physical property in order to make back the money.

The problem is, how much is AIG worth? Could selling every asset available make the company enough money to pay back the government? We may find out.
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