American International Group Inc. (AIG) has agreed to sell insurance assets to Blackstone Group Inc. for a total of US$7.3bn. The sale will be split into a 9.9% equity stake to be sold for US$2.2bn, and affordable housing assets for US$5.1bn.
The insurer and private equity firm have agreed to form a “long-term strategic asset management relationship” for an initial $50 billion from the life and retirement portfolio, with the deal building on two of Blackstone’s initiatives: to build permanent capital by expanding into insurance and to pursue lower-cost rentals for its real estate business.
AIG-Blackstone asset management deal to grow to US$92.5bn in the next six years
The asset management deal between AIG and Blackstone is expected to reach a value of US$92.5bn within the next six years. Jon Gray, President and Chief Operating Officer of Blackstone, said: “We are honored to become AIG’s strategic partner, supporting the growth and success of one the world’s top life insurers as a standalone business. We believe our leading private credit origination platform will play an important role to help meet long-term policyholder obligations while maintaining strong credit quality”.
In May earlier this year, Blackstone told the San Diego Union-Tribune that it was purchasing around 5,800 apartments in San Diego from the Conrad Prebys Foundation for a sale price of over US$1bn. The company said that it was going to keep most of the rentals affordable for residents who make up “80% or less of the area median income”.
Following this announcement, AIG saw a rise in extended trading by 6.7%, closing at US$46.41 in New York. Meanwhile, Blackstone rose about 4% and closed at US$98.65.
An attraction to insurance
Blackstone, as well as other private equity businesses such as Apollo Global Management Inc. and KKR & Co., have been attracted to insurance because it generates a steady stream of investable capital. This expansion in permanent capital helps firms become less reliant on the ups and downs of the private equity model, which normally requires regular fundraising from several institutions.
Investment companies have also benefited from a movement by insurers to dispose of life businesses and reduce non-core assets in order to raise capital. In January, Blackstone purchased a life business from Allstate Corp. for US$2.8bn, enabling the company to oversee a US$28bn portfolio as part of the deal.