Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Debevoise & Plimpton are advising on the $4.2 billion sale of a majority stake in International Lease Finance Corp., the aircraft leasing arm of insurance giant American International Group Inc., to a consortium of Chinese investors.
The deal gives a group of Chinese investment companies comprising New China Trust Co., China Aviation Industrial Fund, and P3 Investments Ltd., an 80 percent share in ILFC. AIG, the recipient of a U.S. taxpayer-funded bailout in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, has been following a strategy of selling non-core assets and re-focusing on its primary insurance business.
Simpson Thacher is advising the consortium, with Hong Kong partner Kathryn Sudol and Los Angeles partner Daniel Clivner leading the firm's work on the deal.
The Debevoise team acting for AIG is being led by partner John Vasily in New York.
The deal is pending approval by both U.S. and Chinese regulators and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013, an AIG statement said.
New China Trust and the other investors have the option to acquire another 10 percent of ILFC, which would bring the total transaction value to $5.3 billion. If they choose to do so, and regulators sign off on the deal, the consortium may be joined by China Life Insurance Co. and a unit of ICBC International Holdings Ltd.
ILFC, with its fleet of over a thousand planes, is second only to General Electric Co.s GE Capital Aviation Services in the global aircraft leasing market. It ranks first in China, with a 30 percent market share.
If successful, the deal will also become the largest Chinese acquisition in the U.S., surpassing sovereign fund China Investment Corp.s $3 billion purchase of a 10 percent stake in New York-based private equity firm Blackstone Group L.P. in 2007.