The Treasury made a profit selling 15% of AIG?
An utter imbecile at the WSJ actually claimed that "taxpayers win."
Let's look at what happened today. The Treasury dumped 200 million shares on the open market. Reuters reported, "The shares were sold for $29 apiece, just above the $28.73 average price the Treasury will need to break even on its record bailout of AIG during the financial crisis."
There are 1.8 billion AIG shares total, giving it a market cap of $50.81 billion. In November 2008, the feds poured a total of $182.5 billion into AIG. In order to break even, it would actually have to sell each share at $101.39 per share.
Then how can Reuters tell us that the Treasury will break even at $29? Well,
So far, Treasury has raised $5.8 billion of the $47.5 billion it needs to break even on the equity portion of its investment. Treasury cut its stake in AIG from 92 percent, but, by far remains the majority shareholder, with 77 percent. It has another 1.5 billion shares to sell.Aha! The Treasury is telling us only about its equity portion, ignoring all the warrants that the feds bought with taxpayer money. In the private sector, this would be properly accused as accounting fraud, and any CEO or CFO claiming "We'll break even" would be sent to jail. Of course, the feds have told us how all these banks have repaid TARP loans, ignoring those that haven't, and especially ignoring AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Consider this: after the Treasury's "profit" of less than $9 billion today, it could still sell AIG three times over (like a "The Producers" scam) and still not recover what taxpayers poured into it. And that's assuming the stock price wouldn't plunge, of course. I don't think it's that the Treasury is full of idiots, it's just full of thieves who don't have to care about the consequences of suddenly offering 11% of the shares for sale.