Fortress Buys Majority Stake In AIG Lender

Aug 12 2010 | 12:28pm ET

Fortress Investment Group has agreed to buy American International Group’s consumer lending business for $130 million—less than 1% of its $20 billion in assets.

The troubled insurer agreed to sell the New York-based alternative investments giant an 80% stake in American General Finance to remove a burden from its U.S. government-provided bailout money. The government, which is looking to exit its AIG investment, wishes to leave the insurer with a strong credit rating, and keeping American General and its $17 billion in debt would have required more government funds.

AIG will retain a 20% stake in the business to share in the hoped-for recovery of American General. The firm will take a $1.9 billion pre-tax loss as a result of the sale.

“AGF is well-positioned for significant growth in an underserved market," Fortress co-chairman Wesley Edens said. "Fortress is still looking for deals in the financial services where there are asymmetrical risk and return profiles," the person familiar with the situation said. "There is not a lot of downside risk for a modest price."


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