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Apollo Insurer Boosts Capital-Raise Plan to $1 Billion

Athene Holding Ltd., the insurer controlled by Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management LLC, doubled its capital-raising goal to $1 billion to add funds for acquisitions.

The insurer plans to finalize an offering for the new target within 30 days, the Bermuda-based company said today in a slide presentation. The shares will be sold at a premium to embedded value, according to the presentation.

“Ready access to $1 billion will also support Athene’s opportunistic M&A,” according to the presentation. The funds may also help the insurer secure higher ratings, according to the document.

Chief Executive Officer Jim Belardi built Athene by acquiring insurers, most recently completing the purchase of Aviva Plc’s U.S. life and annuity business in October. The firm is betting it can do a better job of generating profits from a portfolio of $61 billion that backs client obligations.

Athene said it will reduce the portion of its money invested in corporate bonds in favor of structured assets such as mortgage-backed securities, according to today’s presentation. The insurer had shifted $2.8 billion of funds as of Dec. 31.

“Asset redeployment at higher yields continues to be a key element of our strategy to increase post-acquisition value,” Athene said.

Apollo and Guggenheim Partners LLC are among investors increasing bets on retirement products via mergers and acquisitions. Insurers including Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Canada’s Sun Life Financial Inc. have been retreating from annuities after being burned by stock-market fluctuations and low interest rates.

Aviva’s U.S. unit was the No. 14 provider of fixed annuities last year with $2.1 billion in sales, according to data from industry group Limra. Athene’s operating profit was $779 million last year, and adjusted book value was $23.32 a share, the presentation showed.

Apollo shares were unchanged at $32.15 in New York trading at 3:40 p.m. The company has advanced 1.7 percent this year.

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