Have you ever gone into a thrift store and seen the exact same T-shirt you sold several months ago on sale, and it's featured prominently in the display. Someone who seems kinda cool and pretty is trying it on. Suddenly, it looks more stylish than it had. You miss it. You want it. You buy it. It hasn't happened to us, personally, but it sounds like a plausible plot point from a CBS sitcom, perhaps. Or maybe the CW. More to the point, it's also basically what AIG has done.
The insurance group, whose mortgage-backed securities were sold off at the height of the financial crisis, has purchased about $2 billion worth of those exact same bonds — secondhand, DealBook explains. AIG tried as early as last March to buy back its original portfolio, but the Fed said no. So Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse moved in, bought the bonds, and sold them to third parties. Third parties that, it now seems, were often just the original first party, AIG. It's the circle of life.