(Changes sourcing to company)
By Joshua Franklin
May 9 (Reuters) - French insurer AXA SA’s initial public offering (IPO) of its U.S. division raised $2.75 billion on Wednesday by pricing at $20 per share, below its targeted range of $24-$27 per share, the company said.
Despite coming in below target, it is still the biggest U.S. IPO so far in 2018 based on proceeds raised, according to Thomson Reuters data.
AXA, which is Europe’s second-biggest insurer by market capitalisation behind Allianz, has said that the proceeds will help finance its earlier acquisition of insurer XL Group.
Although it was not immediately clear why it undershot its expectations, investors have previously voiced concerns over the exposure of many U.S. insurers to the long-term care (LTC) industry. LTC is insurance coverage which pays out for end-of-life medical care, such as when a person needs assistance bathing or feeding themselves.
The U.S. arm of AXA, dubbed AXA Equitable Holdings Inc , offers such protection to clients through a rider on life insurance products. It is one of America’s oldest life insurers, with roots going back to 1859 in New York. AXA acquired the business in 1992.
AXA Equitable Holdings offered 137.25 million shares in its IPO. The listing values the U.S. entity at $11.22 billion.
It is the second U.S. insurance IPO this year to price below its target range, after Goosehead Insurance Inc last month.
Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Barclays and Citigroup are the main investment banks involved in the IPO. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Additional reporting by David French in New York and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Lisa Shumaker)