Update: Apollo Global in talks to buy Aspen Insurance: reports

Aspen Insurance Holdings may find itself owned by private equity for a second time.

Apollo Global Management is in talks to buy Aspen in a deal valued at roughly $2.6 billion, according to Insurance Insider. The Bermuda insurer could announce the sale to Apollo this week, Reinsurance.com said. Update: Apollo agreed Aug. 28 to buy Aspen Insurance for $2.6 billion.

Aspen has been on the block for several months, having hired JP Morgan earlier this year, a source said.

Aspen launched its sales process in March after reporting a $266.4 million loss for the year ended Dec. 31, 2017, the reports said. Goldman Sachs is also advising on the sale, the stories said.

Aspen provides both reinsurance and insurance. It had $13 billion in total assets as of Dec. 31. The company trades on the NYSE.

The insurer was previously backed by Blackstone Group. Founded in 2002, Aspen raised 448 million pounds ($577.8 million) in funding; Blackstone and Candover led the round. Aspen went public in the U.S. in December 2003. Blackstone exited four years later, in 2007.

Blackstone was reportedly one of Aspen’s current suitors. The New York buyout shop, along with strategics Hamilton and Argo Group, were interested in Aspen, Insurance Insider and Reinsurance.com said.

This isn’t the first time Aspen has been the subject of takeover interest. Endurance Specialty Holdings tried to buy the insurer in 2014, PitchBook said. Endurance, backed by CVC Capital Partners, made a hostile $3.2 billion offer for Aspen that was rejected. Endurance dropped its bid later that year.

Aspen has seen a number of departures of late. The company in August said that Thomas Lillelund, president and chief CEO of Aspen Re, was leaving. Lillelund’s departure followed the retirement of Brian Boornazian, chairman of Aspen Re, which was announced in March. Stephen Postlewhite, CEO of Aspen Insurance, left in January.

Insurance isn’t a new sector for Apollo. Earlier this year, Apollo led an investor group to buy the annuities business of Voya Financial Inc. Apollo also owned a majority of Athene Holding, which went public in 2016.

Executives for Aspen and Apollo declined comment.

Action Item: Contact Aspen CEO Chris O’Kane at +1 441-295-8201

Update: This story has been changed to reflect that Apollo has agreed to buy Aspen for $2.6 billion.