Black’s Apollo Increases Insurance Bet With $415 Million Deal

Athene Holding Ltd., the reinsurer backed by Apollo Global Management LLC (APO), agreed to buy Presidential Life Corp. (PLFE) for about $415 million.

Athene Annuity & Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Bermuda-based Athene Holding, will pay $14 a share for Nyack, New York-based Presidential Life, the companies said today in a statement. The price is 38 percent higher than Presidential Life’s closing share price of $10.14 yesterday.

Leon Black, who built Apollo into an $86 billion asset manager by investing in distressed debt and bank loans, has used Athene to tap a new source of capital, by reinsuring fixed annuities and investing the proceeds for a profit. Athene agreed in 2010 to buy Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. life insurance business for $628.1 million and last year acquired Scor SE’s Investors Insurance Corp. subsidiary for $55 million.

“The purchase of Presidential Life will create significant opportunities for growth in our retail sales and reinsurance operations,” James Belardi, chief executive officer of Athene Holding, said in the statement.

Presidential Life rose $3.75, or 37 percent, to $13.89 at 10:37 a.m. in Nasdaq trading. The stock had gained 1.5 percent so far this year. Apollo rose less than one percent to $12.86 at 10:27 a.m.

Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP and Proskauer Rose LLP advised Presidential Life on the transaction, and Sidley Austin LLP advised Athene. The deal is expected to close late this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Devin Banerjee in New York at dbanerjee2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.