AIG May Face Rivals in $15.7 Billion Bid for Assets Held by New York Fed

American International Group Inc. (AIG) may face rival bids to its $15.7 billion offer to repurchase mortgage-backed securities it was forced to turn over to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during a rescue by taxpayers.

Barclays Plc (BARC) is among investors considering making a counter offer, said a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Seth Martin, a Barclays spokesman in New York, declined to comment.

AIG said March 10 it asked to buy back assets it had turned over to a Fed fund known as Maiden Lane II when the insurer was rescued amid a liquidity squeeze in 2008. The New York Fed said the next day it is considering the offer as it seeks a solution that “maximizes the proceeds to the taxpayer.”

“We have been told that someone else was putting together a bid,” AIG Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche, 66, said in an interview with the Financial Times, which reported Barclays’s deliberations yesterday. “I think we can offer a little more, but the price we offered is about it. Until I see a competing bid, I’d have to wait and see.”

Mark Herr, a spokesman for the New York-based company, didn’t elaborate. Jack Gutt, a spokesman for the New York Fed, declined to comment.

The facility holds mortgage-linked assets that AIG had purchased with collateral turned over by Wall Street banks through securities-lending deals. When the housing market collapsed, AIG was unable to reimburse banks that wanted their collateral back, prompting the Fed to make about $22.5 billion available to Maiden Lane II to take the assets off the New York- based company’s balance sheet.

Values Rebound

The value of some of the securities subsequently rebounded and the bonds have paid coupons, reducing the Fed’s investment in the facility. At the same time, AIG has lowered its obligations under a $182.3 billion bailout by selling units including non-U.S. life insurers and a consumer lender.

AIG said last month it is seeking better returns from its investment portfolio by extending the duration on its fixed- income holdings.

“We expect the redeployment of cash in short-term investments in the longer-term, higher-yielding securities will provide an opportunity to improve future earnings,” Chief Financial Officer David Herzog said Feb. 25 on a conference call with analysts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in New York at afrye@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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