AIG Repaying Uncle Sam? Not By a Long Shot

Today’s AIG announcement has generated some surprisingly naive headlines. The company may have announced U.S. bailout exit plan, but that does not make it so. (Citi’s numbers don’t look any better).

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers and separate the facts from fiction:

Total Bailout: $182.3 billion dollars

Amount Still Owed:  $132.1 billion (as of June 30, 2010)

Shares Outstanding: ~700 million

Current price:  $39.10 (+$1.65)

Market Capitalization:  ~$27 billion dollars

Today’s transaction was the converting of Preferred  Stock that had a nominal value of $49.1billion — but this was privately held stock that did not trade. Its true value is actually unknown.

For valuation purposes, let’s imagine a hypothetical company that has myriad valuable parts worth about $30 billion dollars.  But the company also owes over $130 billion dollars to creditors. We would describe that firm as insolvent, and heading towards bankruptcy.

Yet that is not how people think of AIG. The wisdom of crowds seems to think that the government is going to keep a firm bid under the stock price. This same crowd also thinks share dilution is positive, and ran the stock up almost $5 dollars 5% on the news of another 12% dilution.

Management is selling off pieces of the company to repay the government. How they are going to find another $132 billion in value has not been remotely explained.

Converting Preferred to Common stock does reduce the massive AIG obligations any more than converting a 20 into 2 tens makes you any wealthier . . .

This is little more than a shell game

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