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(Reuters) — French insurer Axa SA said it expected to book net proceeds of $3.1 billion from the sale of a 29% stake in Axa Equitable Holdings as it exits its U.S. life insurance business.
Axa, the second-largest European insurer after Germany’s Allianz SE, has been gradually divesting from EQH to raise funds to pay for its $15 billion acquisition of Bermuda-based rival XL Group Ltd. last year.
Axa said in a statement on Friday it had sold 144 million EQH shares at $21.80 per share to Goldman Sachs, the sole underwriter in a secondary public share offering expected to close on Nov. 13.
EQH has agreed to repurchase 24 million shares at the same price.
Axa said that proceeds from the deal would boost the group’s Solvency II capital requirements ratio by 6 points and that no significant net income impact was expected.
After the deal, the French group will retain only a 9.6% stake it needs to redeem an Axa bond maturing in May 2021 that has to be exchangeable in EQH shares.
Axa XL, a unit of Axa SA, said Friday its Bermuda and London reinsurance platforms will be combined to create a global markets business focused on catastrophe, casualty and specialty lines led by Rob Littlemore, chief executive of its London reinsurance business.