April 23, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 2:00 pm

State, city ready to turn 'lemons into lemonade'

State and city officials are keeping a close eye on the Hartford Financial Services Group's corporate restructuring.

Catherine Smith, the commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said the state plans to play an "integral part in the bidding process," and is working closely with The Hartford as the company weighs its options.

She said the state will aggressively work with potential buyers of The Hartford's assets to keep existing jobs and divisions in Connecticut, while also trying to lure any acquiring company to move its headquarters to Connecticut, if they are from outside the state.

"In years past, people would view this as a rotten deal for the state with the potential sale of such great assets from one of our core companies," Smith said. "We are trying to turn that around and turn it into some kind of lemonade. We have offered to be involved with any potential bidders so they understand the programs we have to offer related to financial assistance for retaining and growing jobs and potentially moving a corporate headquarters here."

Dave Panagore, the chief operating officer for the city of Hartford, said the city will do what it can to retain jobs as well.

"They have been a very good partner for Mayor Segarra and his initiatives, and part of Hartford's historic business brand," Panagore said. "Having them on better financial footing will be a good thing."

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