AIG going from too big to fail to too big to succeed?Reprints
American International Group Inc. continues to be a company under siege, both from its own shareholders and from the analyst community, as the company tries to reverse its faltering fortunes.
Some are calling for the insurance giant to focus its efforts more narrowly and simplify its structure.
After reporting a $231 million third-quarter loss, the company announced it would cut 1,400 management positions in an effort to rein in costs.
This, however, did not quell the discontent.
In a research report last week, Bernstein & Co. L.L.C. analyst Josh Stirling again raised the call to dissemble the company, saying it would be worth more “dead than alive.”
“We broadly support the strategic aims of the activists to simplify the firm so that it may refocus on profitability,” said Mr. Stirling in his report.
Shareholders continue to clamor for change.
“We spent the past month speaking to AIG shareholders, and what's very clear is that people want a credible plan from management that will refocus the company on improving margins and driving shareholder value, and a commitment to execute on it,” Mr. Stirling said.
In a Nov. 23 statement, activist shareholder Carl Icahn, who with over 42 million shares says he is one of AIG's top shareholders, said despite ongoing meetings with the company, CEO Peter Hancock “is not willing to take the bold steps that we, and so many other shareholders, believe are long overdue.”
Key to the company's turnaround is a simpler structure.
“AIG has a lot of structural challenges,” said Mr. Stirling. “Their costs are too high because it's too complex.”
The company could part with many of its myriad businesses and become more focused, he said.
“You could sell half of them and massively simplify the organization and make it easier to fix the rest of it,” said Mr. Stirling. “This would make the firm a more manageable size and give it a shorter list of problems to address.”
AIG on Monday said it is seeking to raise about $750 million by selling part of its stake in China's state-run PICC Property & Casualty Co. Ltd.