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American Express Co. today announced it has priced a $500 million public offering of its common stock at $25.25 per share to raise capital. The company says it will use the funds raised from selling approximately 19.8 million shares for general corporate purposes, which may include repurchasing $3.4 billion in preferred shares it issued to the U.S. Department of the Treasury in December as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program Capital Purchase Program. AmEx switched its charter to become a bank holding company to become eligible to receive the funds (CardLine, 11/10/08). The Federal Reserve last month gave AmEx a passing grade on its stress tests, determining the company would not need to raise additional capital. Although AmEx in May said it would not issue more shares to repay the government, observers say the Treasury Department requires financial companies repaying TARP funds to demonstrate they can raise money in the capital markets without government guarantees. "We've always viewed the Capital Purchase Program as a temporary program and are pleased to be in position to repurchase the preferred shares issued to the Treasury," Kenneth I. Chenault, AmEx chairman and CEO, said yesterday in a statement. AmEx stock closed at $25.99 per share yesterday. At CardLine deadline today, the shares were trading at $24.85. Separately, JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced it priced a $5 billion stock offering at $35.25 per share to satisfy conditions for repurchasing $25 billion in stock it issued to the Treasury Department last fall.

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