Companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) have built strong brand followings and created cult-like followings of customers ready to buy the next iProduct. But not every company has this sort of brand recognition. Companies like those listed below fall into the category of the least liked companies in America. They have plenty of brand recognition, just not the positive kind.
Taking your tax dollars
Insurance companies are generally not well liked, but the reason American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) is one of the most hated brand names in America rests in the risks its took and the role it played in the financial crisis. After a series of financial bets went bad, American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) sought and received federal funds that totaled $182 billion at their peak. Since then, American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) has re-paid its debt, leaving the Treasury with a profit of over $20 billion. However, soon after launching its “Thank You America” ad campaign, major American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) shareholder Maurice Greenberg filed a lawsuit against the government giving American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) another round of negative press despite the board voting unanimously against joining Greenberg’s lawsuit.
Although it sold off pieces of itself to repay the federal funds, American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) is still a giant company overall. Even with a market capitalization of over $60 billion, AIG is still trading at only around 11 times earnings with earnings expected to continue growing over the next few years. However, recent troubles surrounding the proposed sale of AIG’s aircraft leasing subsidiary, International Lease Finance Corp, have been a drag on shares in recent weeks. Bloomberg reports that if the sales to the proposed Chinese buyers fall through, AIG would be free to pursue other ways to raise funds from ILFC including a possible public offering. With these additional funds in hand, AIG could choose to strengthen its balance sheet, make more strategic acquisitions, or buy back more stock. With valuation risk still surrounding the ILFC sale, AIG investors should continue to monitor the progress made in managing ILFC.
Stereotypical Wall Street
There is a widely held belief that the biggest corporations on Wall Street care little about average people, a belief that is too often verified by the actions of some of the largest financial institutions. While Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) is certainly not the only guilty party, it does receive a disproportionate amount of attention for its less than ethical actions.