Axa Equitable Raises $2.75 Billion in Biggest 2018 U.S. IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Axa Equitable Holdings Inc., encompassing the American operations for French insurance giant Axa SA, fell almost $1 billion short of its targeted share sale in what was still the biggest U.S. initial public offering of the year.

Axa Equitable Holdings raised $2.75 billion, selling 137.25 million shares for $20 each. That was short of its targeted range of $24 to $27 apiece. The proceeds from the listing will help its French parent company fund its biggest-ever acquisition: a $15.3 billion takeover of XL Group Ltd.

The listing, which gives Axa Equitable a market value of about $11.2 billion, was the world’s second largest this year. It was surpassed only by Siemens Healthineers AG’s March IPO in Frankfurt, which raised 4.04 billion euros ($4.8 billion), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the U.S., Pagseguro Digital Ltd. sold $2.6 billion in stock in January and iQiyi Inc. sold $2.4 billion in March.

Axa Equitable Holdings includes Axa’s U.S. Life & Savings unit and a 64 percent stake in money manager AllianceBernstein Holding LP. Axa’s U.S. business was the third-largest seller of variable annuities in the U.S. last year, according to industry group Limra.

The company posted revenue of $12.5 billion last year, up 5 percent from 2016. Its net income was $1.3 billion in 2017, down 24 percent from the previous year.

Shares of Axa Equitable Holdings are set to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EQH. Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Citigroup Inc. are leading the offering.

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