Looking to dig out of its financial hole, New York-based American International Group Inc. (AIG) says it has entered into an agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) to spin-off two of its more valuable franchises. AIG contends the move will enable it to reduce the $40 billion the company owes the FRNBY by $25 billion, while positioning the franchises for future prosperity.

Under the deal, AIG will create separate special purpose vehicles (SPVs) for its American International Assurance Company Ltd. (AIA) and American Life Insurance Co. (ALICO) and give the FRBNY preferred interests in the AIA SPV of $16 billion and in the ALICO SPV of $9 billion.

"Placing AIA and ALICO into SPVs represents a major step toward repaying taxpayers and preserving the value of AIA and ALICO, two terrific life insurance businesses with great futures," AIG Chairman and CEO Edward Liddy said in a statement. "Operating AIA's and ALICO's successful business models in the SPV format will enhance the value of these franchises as we move forward with our global restructuring."

Subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, AIG says it expects the transactions to close in the second half of 2009. Until their separation as independent companies, AIA and ALICO will remain wholly owned subsidiaries of AIG, consolidated in AIG's reported financial statements. The company says the SPVs will have initial public offerings, depending on market conditions.

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