Goldman looks to sell majority stake of reinsurance group

Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:53am EST

* Firm looks to sell 75 percent of business

* Seeks $1 billion price

By Jessica Toonkel

NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group is seeking a buyer for a majority stake of its $1.4 billion reinsurance group, according to a copy of its January presentation to potential buyers that was viewed by Reuters.

Goldman is trying to sell 75 percent of Goldman Sachs Reinsurance Group, now renamed Global Atlantic, for around $1 billion, according to the presentation.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman declined to comment. The Insurance Insider first reported Goldman was looking to sell the reinsurance group.

The move to sell control of the reinsurance unit, which generates a steady stream of fees, comes less than a year after Goldman bought Ariel Re's Bermuda-based insurance and reinsurance operations in April. Banks including Goldman Sachs are looking to sell businesses they see as non-core to meet new capital requirements..

Global Atlantic is composed of a $950 million life and annuity business and a $450 million property and casual business.

Goldman reported net revenue of $1 billion in 2012 related to its reinsurance business, up from $880 million in 2011, in its fourth-quarter earnings release Wednesday morning, marking the first time the firm has broken out these figures.

Overall, Goldman said its fourth-quarter earnings nearly tripled, driven by big gains in stock and bond values, increased revenue from deal making and lower compensation expenses.

The fifth-largest U.S. bank by assets, reported earnings of $2.8 billion, or $5.60 per share, up from $978 million, or $1.84 per share, in the same period a year ago.

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