American International Group and its government overseers are in talks to speed up an exit plan designed to repay U.S. taxpayers in full while enabling the giant insurer to regain independence.

Under the plan, which could commence as early as the first half of 2011, the Treasury Department is likely to convert $49 billion in AIG preferred shares it holds into common shares, a move that could bring the government’s ownership stake in AIG to above 90%, from 79.8% currently. The common shares would then be gradually sold off to private investors, a move that would reduce U.S. ownership and potentially earn the government a profit if the shares rise in value.

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