Blackstone to maintain minority investment in Aqua Finance
A specialized platform on track to generate $ 2 billion in loans in 2021
NEW YORK, Nov. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Athene (NYSE: ATH) and Apollo (NYSE: APO) today announced that Athene has agreed to acquire a controlling interest in Aqua Finance (“Aqua” or the “Company”), a fast growing consumer lending platform, from funds managed by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities (“Blackstone”) at a valuation of approximately $ 1 billion. Pursuant to the transaction, Apollo will manage the investment on behalf of Athene. Blackstone would also retain a minority stake in the Company.
Aqua Finance is a Wisconsin-based specialty lending platform that creates and manages consumer loans, primarily for home improvement and water treatment. The company has a strong and growing business relationship formed over the past 30 years and has nearly doubled its annual loan origination since Blackstone first invested in 2018, with originations expected to reach $ 2 billion in 2021.
“Aqua Finance is an exciting opportunity for Athene to invest in a leading consumer finance platform, provide capital and expertise to continue growing the business and execute our strategy with Apollo to invest in high quality origination platforms, ”said Jim Belardi, CEO of Athena.
“We are delighted to partner with this new group of investors as we enter the next phase of Aqua’s expansion. I am proud of the significant progress we have made in making Aqua an industry leader with Blackstone and look forward to building on this strong foundation in the years to come, ”said Rich Morrin, CEO of Aqua .
“For over three decades, Aqua has partnered with merchants to provide flexible consumer loan solutions, and with Athene, we look forward to investing in the business and supporting the Aqua team to leverage of this success, ”said Jim Zelter, co-chair of Apollo. “For Apollo and Athene, Aqua is very complementary to our portfolio of diversified assembly platforms, extending our access to a flow of quality consumer loans. “
Menes Chee, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, and CC Melvin Ike, Principal at Blackstone, said: “We are delighted to have supported Aqua, Rich and their leadership team as they built a strong financial technology platform. serving customers across the country. . We look forward to continuing to support the business and its next phase of growth.
Aqua Finance has a long history of partnering with merchants in the home improvement and leisure ecosystem to provide reliable and flexible financing solutions to their clients. Through this transaction, the new group of investors plans to invest in new technologies and innovations to further improve the customer experience of merchants and stimulate network expansion with new and existing partners.
The addition of Aqua Finance will increase Apollo’s current annual rate of asset creation of $ 80 billion on its platforms, which cover commercial and consumer loans. Apollo’s portfolio of proprietary origination platforms helps the company create high-quality, recurring assets for its investors, including Athene.
The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including certain regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the first half of 2022. Lazard and Goldman Sachs are acting as financial advisers and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP as legal counsel to Blackstone and Aqua Finance. Sidley Austin LLP is legal counsel to Apollo.
Apollo is a high growth global alternative asset manager. We seek to provide our clients with excess return at every step of the risk-return spectrum, from investment grade to private equity, by focusing on three business strategies: return, hybrid and equity. Through our investing activity on our fully integrated platform, we meet the retirement income and financial performance needs of our clients, and we deliver innovative capital solutions to businesses. Our patient, creative and knowledgeable approach to investing aligns our clients, the companies we invest in, our employees and the communities we impact on, to expand opportunities and drive positive results. As of September 30, 2021, Apollo had approximately $ 481 billion in assets under management. For more information, please visit www.apollo.com.
Athene, through its subsidiaries, is a leading retirement services company with total assets of $ 224.4 billion as of September 30, 2021 and operations in the United States, Bermuda and Canada. Athene specializes in helping clients’ financial security and is a solution provider for institutions. Founded in 2009, Athene is committed to doing more for our policyholders, our business partners, our shareholders and the communities in which we work and live. For more information, please visit www.athene.com.
Blackstone is the world’s largest alternative investment firm. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies in which we invest and the communities in which we operate. To do this, we use amazing people and flexible capital to help businesses solve their problems. Our $ 731 billion in assets under management include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, debt and public stocks, life sciences, growth stocks, opportunistic credit and substandard quality, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global scale. More information is available at www.blackstone.com. Follow Blackstone on Twitter @Blackstone.
Athene Safe Harbor for forward-looking statements
This press release contains, and certain oral statements made by representatives of Athene from time to time may contain, forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results, events and developments to differ materially from those stated or implied by such statements. These statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of the management of Athene and the management of the subsidiaries of Athene. Generally, forward-looking statements include actions, events, results, strategies and expectations and are often identified by the use of the words “believes”, “expects”, “intention”, ” anticipates ”,“ plans ”,“ research ”,“ ”estimates”, “projects”, “could”, “will”, “could”, “could”, “should” or “continue” or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, without limitation, statements regarding future growth prospects and financial performance. Factors that could cause actual results, events and developments to differ include, but are not limited to: the accuracy of Athene’s assumptions and estimates; Athene’s ability to maintain or improve financial strength ratings; Athene’s ability to conduct business in a highly regulated industry; regulatory changes or actions; the impact of Athene’s reinsurers failing to meet their assumed obligations; the impact of interest rate fluctuations; changes in federal income tax laws and regulations; the correctness of Athene’s interpretation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; litigation (including class actions), enforcement investigations or regulatory review; the performance of third parties; loss of key personnel; failures of telecommunications, information technology and other operational systems; continued availability of capital; new accounting rules or changes to existing accounting rules; general economic conditions; Athene’s ability to protect its intellectual property; the ability to maintain or obtain approval from the Delaware Department of Insurance, the Iowa Division of Insurance and other regulatory authorities, as required for Athene’s operations; delay or inability to realize or realize the expected benefits of the proposed merger with Apollo Global Management; and other factors discussed from time to time in documents filed by Athene with the SEC, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, its quarterly report on Form 10- Q for the quarterly period ended September 30, 2021, and its other documents filed with the SEC, which can be viewed on the SEC’s website www.sec.gov.
All forward-looking statements described herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results, events or developments mentioned herein will occur or will occur. Athene assumes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unforeseen events or changes in future operating results.
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