AIG’s Huge Sale, Delta’s New Partner, and Buyout Speculation: Afternoon Buzzers

Markets closed up on Monday afternoon. Stocks were being weighed down earlier by news out of Europe — specifically the decision by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti to resign once the 2013 budget has been completed and authorized — but have since recovered.

Here is how the markets closed: S&P: +0.03%, Nasdaq: +0.30%, Dow: +0.11%.

Here’s what’s buzzing in the afternoon:

American International Group (NYSE:AIG) announced that it will sell up to 90 percent of the International Lease Finance Corporation to an investor group headed by New China Trust Co. and the China Aviation Fund. The sale values the ILFC at approximately $5.28 billion.

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New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly thinking about buying the Financial Times. The publication is currently owned by Pearson (NYSE:PSO) and speculation about the publisher selling the unit has been growing slowly but steadily for a while. If Pearson decides to sell, Bloomberg could have to out-bid Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI).

A source close to Virgin Atlantic tells Reuters that the company could form a joint venture for transatlantic flights with Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), should the carrier buy the 49-percent Virgin stake owned by Singapore Airlines.

Having previously quashed the rumors, Greece has reportedly extended the deadline for a critical bond-buyback program by one day. The offer was due to expire on Friday after the country’s largest banks agreed to participate, but the country is seeking three to four billion more euros in offered bonds with the additional day.

With the Libor rate-fixing scandal just falling out of the spotlight, there’s room for attention to be called to the Euribor, the inter-bank exchange rate for the euro. Reports suggest that, following Barclay’s (NYSE:BCS) self-admitted bad behavior, other European and international banks could be probed by European regulators.

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