Seoul: A South Korean-led consortium said Thursday it has reached a deal to buy the New York headquarters of troubled US insurance giant AIG, the first major purchase by a Korean firm of a Wall Street property.
American International Group has agreed to sell its 66-storey headquarters and an adjacent building to the consortium led by Kumho Investment Bank, Kumho said in a statement.
Kumho said it signed a contract and made a down-payment on 2 June and the remainder of the purchase price would soon be paid. It refused to disclose the price or the other consortium members.
Chosun Ilbo newspaper estimated the price at between $400 and 500 million compared with $800-900 million before the financial crisis.
“Wall Street is still the global financial hub and we’re optimistic about the US financial industry,” YC Kim, a Kumho director, said in the statement, adding he expects real estate prices in Wall Street to rebound.
AIG, which is trying to sell off assets to repay a massive US government bailout, last month sold its headquarters in Tokyo to Japan’s largest insurer Nippon Life for $1.2 billion.
The US government has pumped more than $170 billion into AIG to keep it afloat, making it the largest single recipient of federal bailout money.
In return the government has taken a stake of nearly 80% in what was once one of the world’s biggest insurers.