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Athene raises US$1.08b in 3rd-biggest US IPO of 2016

[NEW YORK] Athene Holding Ltd, the insurer that accounts for about a quarter of the asset-management fees earned by Apollo Global Management LLC, raised US$1.08 billion in its initial public offering, pricing an increased number of shares at the midpoint of the marketed range.

Existing shareholders of Athene sold 27 million shares for US$40 each, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, after the annuity provider offered 23.75 million shares for US$38 to US$42 apiece. At the IPO price, the company is valued at about US$7.4 billion, based on about 186 million shares outstanding, according to the deal prospectus.

The deal is the third-biggest US offering of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Chinese delivery company ZTO Express Cayman Inc raised US$1.4 billion in September and US Foods Holding Corp collected US$1.2 billion. Japanese messaging company Line Corp sold US$894.5 million worth of stock in the US and Valvoline Inc raised US$759 million.

Under the purview of industry stalwart and chief executive officer Jim Belardi, Athene has become a jewel for Leon Black's Apollo since the insurer's founding in 2009. Apollo, which will retain 45 per cent of voting power after the IPO, charges fees to help manage the funds.

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Athene was the seventh-largest seller of fixed annuities in the US in the first nine months of the year, raking in US$3.8 billion in sales, according to data from industry group Limra. Operating income net of tax was US$476 million in that period, the prospectus shows. The insurer profits when investment returns on its funds exceed what it promises to customers.

Athene's shares are set to begin trading Friday, listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ATH. Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc and Wells Fargo & Co led the offering.

Athene will not receive proceeds from the sale, the filing shows. Selling shareholders include Apollo, a unit of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board and Teacher Retirement System of Texas.