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Axa's €660M insurance book sale tops European financials M&A activity in July

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Axa's €660M insurance book sale tops European financials M&A activity in July

France-based Axa SA's sale of an insurance book in Germany was the largest deal across the European financial services sector in July, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

In a €660 million deal, AXA agreed to sell a portfolio of life and pensions insurance reserves worth €16 billion to privately held Athora Deutschland GmbH. The portfolio is composed mostly of traditional savings policies and has been closed to new business since 2016.

Other notable deals during July included Italian bank UniCredit SpA's €500 million sale of its 49% stake in CNP Vita Assicura SpA, which allowed France-based CNP Assurances SA to take full control of the business. The transaction also involved the sale of 6.5% of CNP UniCredit Vita SpA to UniCredit for €70 million, with CNP Assurances keeping a controlling stake of 51%.

Meanwhile, Spanish lender Kutxabank SA has disposed of a nonperforming loan book for €240 million.

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Two of the top 10 largest deals in the month involved Kingdom Holding Company, the conglomerate controlled by Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The company bought minority stakes in U.K. asset manager M&G PLC and insurer Phoenix Group Holdings PLC, worth about €264.1 million and €225.9 million, respectively. Kingdom Holding said the Phoenix Group transaction increased its stake in the savings and retirement services business to 3.79%.

In May, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia bought a 16.9% stake in Kingdom Holding for an estimated $1.51 billion. Kingdom Holding had total assets of about $13.54 billion at the end of 2021, according to S&P Capital IQ Pro data.

July deals

In total, 74 deals were reached in July, down from 91 the month before and from 116 in July 2021. This marks the sixth consecutive month to see a year-over-year decline in dealmaking among European financial companies.

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There were 578 deals in the sector from January to July 2022, versus 688 in the same period in 2021.

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The insurance industry was the most active subsector with 27 deals. Asset management and banking followed at 19 and 9 deals, respectively.

Twenty-five deals involved companies based in the U.K., with France following with seven.

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