Apollo Reaches Deal With New York on Aviva’s U.S. Unit

Apollo Global Management LLC’s Athene Holding Ltd. reached a deal with a New York regulator to implement heightened capital standards at the Aviva Plc U.S. insurance business it is seeking to buy.

The agreement “will help better protect retirees and others receiving annuity payments,” the office of Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, said today in a statement.

Apollo, the private-equity firm run by Leon Black, agreed in December to buy Aviva’s U.S. life and annuity business in a $1.8 billion deal to bolster assets under management. Lawsky has called for extra scrutiny of the risks when investment firms acquire insurers.

Athene agreed to set up a fund with $35 million to backstop the Aviva unit’s obligations in New York. The buyer will also seek written approval for any changes in dividends or reinsurance transactions, according to the statement.

“We have worked closely with the NYDFS to come to these agreements and look forward to working with them in the future as we close our acquisition,” Athene Chief Executive Officer Jim Belardi said in a separate statement. Athene said it expects the deal to be completed early in the fourth quarter.

Lawsky gave approval last month for Guggenheim Partners LLC shareholders to buy a U.S. annuities business from Sun Life Financial Inc. after the buyer agreed to similar protections. The regulator intends to approve the Athene deal after its concessions, said a person familiar with Lawsky’s thinking who asked not to be identified because no announcement has been made.

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