Generali interested in AIA assets

Generali, europe's third-largest insurer, could look at acquiring the Asian assets of American International Group, the Italian insurer's chief executive said yesterday.

First AIG "has to decide what they want to do ... If they want to sell parts of it we could look at them," Giovanni Perissinotto told reporters on the sidelines of a conference yesterday.

"The framework is not clear," he said, referring to whether AIG will list or sell its Asian business, AIA.

It is understood that John Studzinski, the veteran banker at Blackstone, who has been advising AIG since it was bailed out by the US government in 2008, told AIG that it could get a better price for AIA in a Hong Kong listing, as Pru attempted to negotiate down the deal price at the start of the month.

AIG's chief executive, Robert Benmosche, has asked his board for time to explore options beside a public offering for its Asian life unit after a $35.5bn (£24bn) sale to Prudential fell apart.

Generali has been developing activities in the Far East, including in China and India, in recent years, although the Italian group played down reports that it could bid for the whole of AIA as "premature" earlier this month.