AIG and Manchester United; the deal is over?

American insurance giant AIG said on Wednesday it would not renew its shirt sponsorship deal with European and world club football champions Manchester United.

The American company also said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters that it was "in active discussions" with the club regarding the current four-year $100 million deal, which runs until next May.

Once the world's biggest insurer by market value, AIG averted bankruptcy in September last year with an $85 billion federal bailout, which later swelled to about $152 billion.

The company has started selling assets to raise funds to repay a part of the government bailout.

"Following the loan from the Fed, AIG has been reviewing all its sponsorships to identify those essential to maximising the value of AIG businesses," AIG said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters.

"In October, AIG told Manchester United that it is not renewing its sponsorship. Further, AIG has been in active discussions with the club regarding the current contract, which expires in May 2010," it added.

Manchester United was not immediately available for comment.

The news comes a day after it emerged that the English Premier League champions had approached Indian company Sahara as a potential replacement for AIG.

"We can confirm that we have received a proposal for team sponsorship, it is an elaborate one," Abhijit Sarkar, spokesman for the diversified Sahara Group, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Sahara, which sponsors the Indian cricket team, is an unlisted group with interests from financial services to real estate.



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