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Buyout firm Apollo gets Aspen Insurance for $2.6 billion

Apollo Global Management agreed to buy Aspen Insurance for $2.6 billion, or $42.75 per share (6.6% premium to Monday’s closing price).

Why it's a big deal: Because this is part of private equity's deepening love affair with specialty insurers, even as they've been hammered by falling prices and an upswing in costly natural disasters.

But, but, but: Earlier reports suggested that Aspen could sell for upwards of $50 per share, with the price likely being driven down by sluggish Q2 earnings and Blackstone bailing on the process.

Bottom line: The private-equity firm joins rivals such as Carlyle and Blackstone in building insurance assets to gain access to premium income, betting that they can generate higher returns. Apollo is pushing its annuity seller Athene Holding into Europe while increasing its stake in reinsurer Catalina Holdings Bermuda." — Neil Calanan, Bloomberg