* Firm looks to sell 75 percent of business
* Seeks $1 billion price
By Jessica Toonkel
NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - In preparation for rules requiring the bank to hold more capital, Goldman Sachs Group is looking to sell a majority stake in its $1.4 billion reinsurance group, the firm's incoming chief financial officer, Harvey Schwartz, said Wednesday on the firm's earnings call.
"Given the Basel III capital changes that we incur as an owner of our own reinsurance business, we are considering a potential sale of a majority stake in the business," Schwartz said on the call.
Goldman is trying to sell 75 percent of Goldman Sachs Reinsurance Group, now renamed Global Atlantic, for around $1 billion, according to a copy of its January presentation to potential buyers that was viewed by Reuters.
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 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 released on 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.