Hartford Financial Shares Rise on Report of Japan Unit Bid

Wednesday, 09 Oct 2013 04:15 PM

 

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Shares of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., the insurer focusing on property-casualty coverage, rose Wednesday after Reuters reported that Apollo Global Management LLC and J.C. Flowers & Co. may bid for unit that sells annuities in Japan.

Hartford climbed 4.5 percent to $32.06 at 3:24 p.m. in New York. The insurer has rallied about 43 percent this year.

The insurer stopped selling annuities in Japan and the U.S. to reduce the risk of interest rate fluctuations and stock market declines. Hartford, based in the Connecticut city of the same name, struck a deal in June with Berkshire Hathaway Inc., to limit annuity risk. Berkshire agreed to take on liabilities from U.K. annuity contracts that Hartford sold in prior years.

“We do view transactions as a powerful tool to accelerate the runoff of the annuity block,” Tom Hambrick, a spokesman for the insurer, said in an e-mail. “Any transactions would be evaluated by balancing the sales price and underlying economics with the capital that would be released.” He declined to comment on Apollo or Flowers.

Carolyn Sargent, a spokeswoman for Apollo at Rubenstein Associates, had no immediate comment. A message left with Flowers wasn’t immediately returned.

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