American International Group sold $9.6 billion in shares of insurer MetLife Inc on Wednesday, closing the offering a day earlier than expected, on strong demand.

The proceeds will help AIG repay bailout funds to the U.S. government and eliminate AIG ownership of MetLife securities. AIG obtained its MetLife stock last year when it sold MetLife its Alico international insurance business subsidiary.

AIG said a total of 147 million common shares of MetLife were sold at $43.25 per share, generating proceeds of $6.35 billion.

In addition, $3.3 billion in proceeds came from sale of preferred stock of MetLife that AIG held.

AIG and the Treasury expected it to take two days to market the MetLife shares but managed to close the book in just one day, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday night.

Of the $9.6 billion in proceeds, $6.3 billion will go immediately to paying down AIG's debts, and $3.3 billion will go into an escrow account.

Assuming there are no legal claims requiring AIG to indemnify MetLife, the escrow will be released in thirds in November 2011, November 2012 and May 2013.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson and Soyoung Kim; Editing by Gary Hill)