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May 11, 2009 2:44 PM

Simpson Thacher Joins AIG Divestiture Party

Posted by Brian Baxter

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is the latest Am Law 100 firm to advise AIG on another major asset divestiture. The New York-based insurance giant announced the sale of its Japanese headquarters to Nippon Life Insurance for $1.2 billion on Monday.

Bloomberg reports that the 15-story structure is located in central Tokyo's Marunouchi district and has views of the Imperial Palace. The property is considered among the most expensive real estate in the world. (Click here for a photo of the building, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.)

AIG has been in a transactional frenzy in recent months as it seeks to repay billions in government loans.

Sullivan & Cromwell has advised AIG on refinancing negotiations with the U.S. government and the $742 million sale of an insurance unit in December.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Swiss firm Lenz & Staehelin took the lead for AIG when it sold its private banking unit for $254 million and Debevoise & Plimpton subsequently helped the insurer sell off its asset management and Canadian life insurance divisions.

Last month it was Sidley Austin that helped AIG pull off one of its largest divestitures to date: the $1.9 billion sale of the company's U.S. auto insurance unit to Zurich Financial Services.

Now it's Simpson Thacher's turn.

Gregory Ressa, the head of Simpson Thacher's real estate department, advised AIG on the sale along with real estate partner Scott Kobak, tax partner John Hart, and associates Erik Quarfordt and Kurt Dudas in New York. Corporate partner David Sneider, the head of the firm's Tokyo office, led a team in Japan that included associates Noritaka Kumamoto and Samuel Porter.

The Japanese firm of Anderson Mori & Tomotsune served as local counsel to AIG on the sale.

What's next for AIG? The company has stated that it's looking at the possibility of selling its Manhattan headquarters to help pay off its tab from Uncle Sam.

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