NU Online News Service, Dec. 30, 2003, 12:07 p.m. EST – American Equity Investment Life Holding Company, West Des Moines, Iowa, says it has raised more than $173 million through its initial public stock offering.[@@]

American Equity also has raised another $11.6 million by selling trust preferred securities through a private placement.

The founders of American Equity started the company in 1995 by acquiring two large blocks of life business from subsidiaries of The Statesman Group Inc., Des Moines, Iowa. American Equity later acquired Century Life Insurance Company, Waverly, Iowa, and started a subsidiary domiciled in New York.

Today, American Equity has $2 billion in life insurance business on its books and licenses to sell its products in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

Merrill Lynch & Company Inc., New York, the company that ran the initial public offering, and the other IPO underwriters reserved the right to buy up to 2.8 million shares of American Equity stock on top of the allotment earmarked for the IPO.

The underwriters already have bought 2 million of the extra shares, and they have an option to buy another 805,000 shares by Friday, American Equity says.