Ares, Blackstone Said Among Bidders for Fidelity & Guaranty Life

  • Athene said to also consider bid despite earlier low offer
  • Insurer is seeking new suitor after sale to Anbang fell apart

Ares Management LP and Blackstone Group LP are among bidders vying to acquire Fidelity & Guaranty Life, people familiar with the matter said, as the insurer looks for a home after nixing a sale last month to a Chinese conglomerate.

The U.S. buyout firms are preparing to make a new round of bids for FGL after submitting offers for the Des Moines, Iowa-based company about a month ago, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

Athene Holding Ltd., the Apollo Global Management LLC-backed annuities seller that analysts pegged as a likely buyer, may still bid for FGL despite earlier being bumped from the sale process after making an offer that wasn’t deemed high enough, the people said.

A deal for FGL could be reached as soon as the end of May, one of the people said. At least one other potential suitor is still participating in the auction, another person said. The identity of the additional bidder couldn’t immediately be learned.

Representatives for Ares, Athene, Blackstone and FGL declined to comment.

FGL, which has a market value of about $1.7 billion, terminated a deal with Anbang Insurance Group Co. in April after the transaction struggled to win regulatory approval. FGL continues to consider strategic alternatives and has received interest from a number of parties, according to a statement at the time.

FGL primarily sells fixed indexed annuities, an investment product for retirees that ties payouts to the performance of major benchmarks like the S&P 500. The company has an investment portfolio of more than $20 billion and about 700,000 policyholders.

Its owner, investment firm HRG Group Inc., put FGL up for sale in 2015 after losing money on loans to RadioShack Corp. before the retailer’s bankruptcy filing.

— With assistance by Jodi Xu Klein, and Sonali Basak

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