b'Mergers & Acquisitions | Life Sector UK and EuropeUnsurprisingly, deal activity in the European Life sectors cooled down during the first half of 2020 due to COVID-19 as insurers were more focused on sustaining operations and preserving capital; however, the second half of 2020 saw a wave of deals, with insurers keen to take advantage of a low-growth, low interest rate environment through M&A. This trend is expected to continue into 2021 with insurers looking to increase their profitability by acquiring capital light businesses that can be scaled. Despite the economic uncertainty, private capital is continuing its expansion into this sector. One notable deal involving private capital is Bain Capitals acquisition of Liverpool Victoria Life Co., Ltd. for $706 million. This purchase is intended to be a long-term invest-ment for Bain Capital, who will seek to grow the brands presence in its existing markets. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is set close at the end of 2021. The largest deal reported in this sector in 2020 was GIC and MassMutuals purchase of Blackstones 36% shareholding in Rothesay Life for $2.7 billion. Both GIC & MassMutual already held shares in Rothesay Life, but will as a result of the deal become equal 49% shareholders. 2020 also saw the announcement of French insurer AXAs sale of its life and savings (in addition to P&C and pensions) operations in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia to Austrian Uniqa Insurance Group for 1 billion. This is not the only M&A deal for AXA in 2020. It also sold AXA Greece, one of the top insurance companies in Greece with a strong presence in the life insurance sector, to Generali for 165 million. These disposals follow from the sales of its businesses in Hungary (2015), Serbia (2016) and Romania (2017) to Vienna Insurance Group. Another notable deal in 2020 was British insurer Prudential Financial, Inc.s (Prudential) sale of a minority stake in its US business, Jackson National Life, to Apollo-backed Athene Life Re Ltd (Athene) for $500 million. Athene has also entered into a $27 billion reinsurance agree-ment with Jackson Life for traditional fixed annuity and indexed annuity liabilities. This deal comes after mounting pressure from shareholder activist, Third Point, who has called for Prudential to separate its Asia business from its US business. Third Point is a US-based hedge fund that has a 5% shareholding in Prudential, worth over $2 billion. Following on from a deal highlighted in the 2019 Year in Review, Phoenix Group Holdings Limited completed its purchase of ReAssure Group Plc from Swiss Re Ltd and MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings, Inc., with its chief executive confirming that the company is open to completing more deals in the UK and Europe in 2021. gMAYER BROWN 17'