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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

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
9 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tesla's wild rise and European plan

Tesla's market capitalization blew past $500 billion for the first time Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's just a number, but kind of a wild one. Consider, via CNN: "Tesla is now worth more than the combined market value of most of the world's major automakers: Toyota, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and its merger partner PSA Group."

Dave Lawler, author of World
51 mins ago - World

China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
2 hours ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.