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

Athene Holding Ltd., the reinsurer backed by Apollo Global Management LLC, agreed to buy Presidential Life Corp. 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.

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