LOS ANGELES – Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), the urban-focused conglomerate founded by NBA legend and two-time Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, on June 23 announced the completion of its acquisition of a majority, controlling interest in EquiTrust Life Insurance Company (EquiTrust), a $14.5 billion dollar financial services company.
EquiTrust distributes fixed and indexed annuities and life insurance through a national network of more than 23,800 independent agents.
With the addition of Illinois-based EquiTrust, Magic Johnson Enterprises, long focused on ethnically diverse and underserved urban communities, said in a statement about the acquisition that it continues its mission by incorporating a diversified set of portfolio holdings that now includes a nationwide provider of retail financial services. The EquiTrust acquisition is significant in that there is limited ownership by minorities among financial institutions today.
“Magic Johnson Enterprises’ acquisition of EquiTrust Life Insurance, which manages more than $14 billion in assets, represents the largest such transaction involving a financial services company from an individual African American entrepreneur or group of African American entrepreneurs. This historic deal will create the nation’s largest black-owned insurance company and enable EquiTrust to join an exclusive group that has included North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Atlanta Life Financial Group – institutions that have served African Americans for more than a century and were among the leadership of the BE Insurance Companies List for 32 years of the 42-year history of our listing of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses,” said Derek T. Dingle, Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer of BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“EquiTrust provides MJE a tremendous platform to advocate for financial literacy and assist in creating job opportunities at every level. We will educate and emphasize the importance of life insurance for estate planning and annuities for retirement planning purposes,” said Johnson, CEO and Chairman of MJE. “It’s not only groundbreaking, but continues my mission to invest in businesses where we can make a positive impact in the community.”
“EquiTrust has grown into a top 10 fixed annuity writer and has produced milestone financial results in recent years,” said Jeffrey Lange, CEO of EquiTrust. “The financial strength and stability of EquiTrust combined with Earvin’s strategic initiative and consumer focus provide for a very bright outlook for the company. I look forward to working with Earvin and his team to continue building on the company’s excellent track record.”
The statement continued to say that MJE acquired greater than 60% of EquiTrust, a trusted provider of retirement products with a strong track record of operating performance, on the heels of its sale of Florida-based Simply Healthcare to Anthem, Inc. in Feb. 2015. Simply Healthcare provides comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid benefit administration to Floridians, including a specialty plan for those living with HIV and AIDS.
With MJE’s active engagement in marketing, regulatory issues and board participation, Simply Healthcare grew from 30,000 to 270,000 members in less than three years. Simply was awarded a four-star rating for its exceptional service by the U.S. government. The Simply Healthcare investment not only greatly benefited its member subscribers, but it yielded immense returns for MJE, selling for 16 times the original investment and paving the way for the company’s deeper dive into the insurance and financial services community.
The same business principles and philosophies that made Simply Healthcare a resounding success, the statement said, translate well to the financial services arena as MJE looks to add to the EquiTrust tradition of excellence. MJE is built on a philosophy that is not just about building a business but on making the consumer a priority. This aligns with the core values of EquiTrust, and under new ownership, MJE and EquiTrust will continue to look for opportunities to create and enhance policyholder value. MJE also envisions significant job creation across a broad socio-economic spectrum, from call center positions to executive-level roles.
Guggenheim Partners, the global investment and advisory firm, will continue to provide investment management services for EquiTrust. Guggenheim partner Mark Walter and Johnson are also involved in a joint venture that owns the Los Angeles Dodgers.
About EquiTrust: EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, formed in 1996, is a national carrier of competitive, client-friendly annuity and life insurance products, available through a national network of over 20,000 independent sales representatives. Annuities include a variety of index-linked, multi-year guarantee and traditional tax-deferred contracts – as well as immediate-income annuities. Life products include simplified-issue, wealth-transfer life insurance. EquiTrust is based in Chicago, with operations in West Des Moines, Iowa.
About Magic Johnson Enterprises: Magic Johnson Enterprises, formed in 1987, is owned and operated by retired NBA 2-Time Hall of Fame legend, entrepreneur and philanthropist Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The Enterprises serves as a catalyst for community and economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products and services that focus primarily on ethnically diverse and urban communities. Through strategic alliances, investments, consulting and endorsements, Magic Johnson Enterprises has a portfolio of companies that strategically work together to reinforce the organization’s focus on serving emerging, multicultural communities. Learn more at www.magicjohnson.com
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