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Deals of the year 2010: MetLife’s acquisition of Alico

At the end of a fraught weekend in September 2008, David Platter, managing director of Credit Suisse’s financial institutions group, walked out of the key meeting in which Barclays sealed its deal to buy Lehman. Leaning back to stare up at the Manhattan skyline, he noticed the AIG building. Every light, on every floor, was shining. What might be happening there? he wondered.

MetLife’s acquisition of Alico
Size: $16.2 billion
Completion date: November 1
Adviser to MetLife: Credit Suisse
Adviser to Alico: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup
Adviser to AIG: Blackstone
Adviser to US Federal Reserve: Morgan Stanley

In 2010, Platter would find himself again living through one of the key transactions in the aftermath of AIG’s bailout through which the US government sought to recover some of the billions expended to save the US insurance company and the financial system: the $16.2 billion sale of AIG’s international subsidiary American Life Insurance Co (Alico) to MetLife. As on the sale of the much larger AIA (see Asia deals of the year section), so too with Alico, AIG pursued a twin-track approach. It would sell the companies in whatever way realized the best value, either through an M&A disposal to a trade or financial buyer, or though an IPO on the stock market. AIA famously began preparations for an IPO until AIG accepted a $35 billion bid from Prudential. Then, when Prudential’s own shareholders demanded a renegotiation of terms, it returned to the stock market and floated AIA in a deal that valued it at $35 billion.

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