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'From Prey to Predator': AIG Becomes a Buyer, Not a Seller

Looks like there really is a shift in policy at American International Group. In the latest news, CEO Robert Benmosche is not selling off pieces of the former trillion-dollar insurer; he's buying.
According to a story out of the Philippines, AIG's Philamlife unit, that country's largest life insurer, said it bought a 51 percent stake in the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)'s life insurance subsidiary.

ABS-CBN News described the turnaround as going "from prey to predator." Last October, Philamlife was on the auction block as part of AIG's fire sale to pay back the billions it owes the federal government in bailout money. The offer attracted interest from BPI, which is owned by Manila's elite Ayala family.

The two danced around each other and discovered they had mutual interests. Philamlife wasn't quite as destitute as the media made it appear, and had assets of about $111 billion Philippine dollars, according to ABS-CBN. No one will say how much Philamlife paid to gain entry into the Ayala empire, but one of the smartest financial families in the Philippines liked what it saw, because it will retain 49 percent of the venture.

Benmosche appears to be making good on his promise to not sell off the company at rock bottom prices. As already reported on BNET Finance, he stopped the auction of AIG's investment advisory unit, planning instead to keep it. He also installed new management in the U.S. life insurance and retirement business.

What's next? Benmoshe is still sampling wines in Croatia this month. Will things heat up even more when he gets back?

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