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UPDATE 1-Athene says not in talks with AIG, but expressed interest in L&R unit

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(Adds AIG declined comment in last paragraph)

NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Athene Holding Ltd saidon Thursday that it is not in discussions with insurer AmericanInternational Group Inc about an acquisition, a dayafter Athene's chief said the company had expressed interest toAIG about a deal.

"As of February 17, 2021, Athene Holding Ltd and AmericanInternational Group, Inc are not in discussions regarding atransaction involving an AIG business unit," Athene said in aregulatory filing.

On Wednesday, Athene Chief Executive Jim Belardi toldReuters that his company had expressed interest in a 19.9% stakeAIG said last October that it plans to sell its life andretirement business.

"I have no idea what will happen and whether we're in themix or not, but we've expressed interest and we'll see whathappens," Belardi told Reuters on Wednesday.

AIG said on Wednesday it is weighing inquiries from"high-quality companies" about the stake but that it is mainlyfocused on selling it via an initial public offering.

AIG plans to separate the life and retirement business tofocus on general insurance and is not planning to break up thebusiness, which earned adjusted pretax income of nearly $3.6billion last year.

Athene declined to comment beyond the 8K regulatory filing.AIG declined to comment.(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; editing by Jonathan Oatis)