Business news

AIG in better shape to pay back bailout


WASHINGTON --- Insurance giant American International Group Inc. is better positioned to pay back all of its $182 billion federal bailout, a key Treasury official testified Wednesday.

But AIG's ability to repay taxpayers depends on its future profitability and the insurance industry's strength, Treasury chief restructuring officer Jim Millstein said. He said AIG must complete the planned sales of two large insurance subsidiaries and regain the market's confidence.

"There's a lot of things that have to occur before we'll know" how much taxpayers will be repaid, Millstein told the Congressional Oversight Panel, which is monitoring the $700 billion financial bailout. The panel has criticized officials who managed the bailout for failing to consider alternatives, such as filing for bankruptcy or demanding concessions from AIG's creditors.

AIG received the largest bailout of any company during the financial crisis that crested in September 2008. The company could not meet its financial obligations after selling guarantees on mortgage-related investments that later lost value.

Couple is accused of Disney insider trading

LOS ANGELES --- An assistant to a top executive at Walt Disney Co. and her boyfriend have been arraigned in Los Angeles federal court following their arrest on charges that they offered to sell secrets about Disney's financial picture to investment companies.

Bonnie Hoxie was released on $50,000 bond, but her co-defendant, Yonnie Sebbag was ordered held in prison pending transfer to New York where the case was filed.

U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Walsh said Sebbag was a potential flight risk. He ordered both defendants to appear in a New York court on June 3.

Prosecutors say Hoxie obtained information such as Disney's quarterly earnings before the results were publicly released and fed the information to Sebbag, who tried to sell the tips to at least 33 investment companies.

Georgia made $1.4 billion from Google

Internet advertising giant Google, which has an Atlanta presence, says it helps plenty of small businesses.

The company did a state-by-state breakout in its report on economic impact in 2009 on business that use its search and advertising tools. In Georgia, Google said it generated $1.4 billion in economic activity for businesses, Web site publishers and nonprofit organizations last year.

Georgia, the report said, had 48,200 advertisers and Web site publishers.

"It's easy to overlook that we're also an engine for economic growth," said Maureen Schumacher, regional sales director for Google.

Google directs potential customers to businesses via sponsored links adjacent to search results through its AdWords advertising program.

Through its AdSense program, Web site publishers can run ads on their sites.

Schumacher said Google has been in Georgia for eight years. It has more than 50 full-time sales and engineering staff employees based in the state.

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