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Rating Action:

MOODY'S UPGRADES MONY GROUP (SENIOR DEBT TO A3) AND MONY LIFE (FINANCIAL STRENGTH TO Aa3) FOLLOWING ACQUISITION BY AXA FINANCIAL

08 Jul 2004
MOODY'S UPGRADES MONY GROUP (SENIOR DEBT TO A3) AND MONY LIFE (FINANCIAL STRENGTH TO Aa3) FOLLOWING ACQUISITION BY AXA FINANCIAL

AXA Financial's and Equitable Life's Ratings Affirmed

New York, July 08, 2004 -- Moody's Investors Service upgraded the ratings on The MONY Group Inc. (MONY) and on its principal operating companies, MONY Life Insurance Company (MONY Life) and MONY Life Insurance Company of America (MLOA), following MONY's acquisition by AXA Financial, Inc. (AXA Financial) earlier today. The rating on MONY's senior unsecured debt was raised to A3 from Baa2, while the insurance financial strength (IFS) ratings on MONY Life and MLOA were raised to Aa3 from A2. This concludes the rating review initiated by Moody's on September 18, 2003, following the announcement that AXA Financial would acquire MONY. The outlook on the ratings is stable.

Moody's also affirmed the ratings on AXA Financial (senior unsecured debt at A3) and on its principal U.S. life insurance company, Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States (Equitable Life; insurance financial strength at Aa3, surplus notes at A2, and commercial paper at Prime-1). AXA Financial is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AXA Group S.A. (senior debt at A2), one of the largest financial services firms in the world. The outlook on the ratings is stable.

The rating agency said that AXA Financial paid approximately U.S. $1.5 billion for MONY Group and that MONY Group is being merged into AXA Financial. Consequently, the pre-existing debt at MONY Group will be an obligation of AXA Financial and the rating on this senior unsecured debt was raised to A3, the same as the rating on AXA Financial's pre-existing debt. Moody's noted that the acquisition fits well with AXA's strategy to expand selectively in markets where the group enjoys good market positions, such as in the U.S. with AXA Financial, which Moody's views as one of the strongest components of the AXA Group.

Moody's said that the IFS ratings on MONY Life and MLOA were raised to Aa3, on par with the IFS rating on Equitable Life, because the rating agency expects the companies will be fully integrated with AXA Financial's distribution, technology and administrative functions. This process should expand AXA Financial's retail insurance and annuity distribution, and enhance its presence in specific products and markets such as life wholesale distribution, high net worth clients and mutual funds. The merger also allows for cross-selling opportunities between the two organizations' distribution networks, and provides for significant cost savings opportunities. While there is risk associated with the integration of the two organizations, Moody's believes that this risk is mitigated by the strong track record and execution capabilities of AXA Financial's management team.

In commenting on the affirmation of AXA Financial and Equitable Life's ratings, Moody's said that the companies have a leading position in variable life insurance and variable annuity markets in the U.S., a strong presence in asset management through majority ownership in Alliance Capital Management L.P., a productive career agency sales force, and a reasonable quality investment portfolio. These strengths are somewhat offset by exposure to equity market volatility through the companies' product offering, intense competition in the markets for variable products and retirement and estate planning, and moderately high financial leverage.

Going forward, Moody's expects that AXA Financial will maintain a financial leverage ratio (debt-to-capital; including surplus notes) of not more than 25%, cash coverage of interest expense of at least three times, operating income of at least $500 million per annum, and an NAIC Risk-Based Capital (RBC) ratio of 300% at the primary operating companies.

Moody's upgraded the following ratings, with a stable outlook:

The MONY Group Inc. -- senior unsecured debt to A3 from Baa2, prospective senior unsecured debt to (P)A3 from (P)Baa2, and prospective subordinated and junior subordinated debt to (P)Baa1 from (P)Baa3;

MONY Capital Trust I -- prospective preferred stock to (P)Baa1 from (P)Baa3;

MONY Capital Trust II -- prospective preferred stock to (P)Baa1 from (P)Baa3;

MONY Life Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from A2, and surplus notes to A2 from Baa1;

MONY Life Insurance Company of America -- insurance financial strength to Aa3 from A2.

Moody's affirmed the following ratings with stable outlooks:

The MONY Group Inc. -- commercial paper at Prime-2 (P-2);

MONY Holdings, LLC -- senior secured debt at Aaa (enhanced by a financial guaranty insurance policy provided by Ambac Assurance Corporation, which is rated Aaa for insurance financial strength);

AXA Financial, Inc. -- senior unsecured debt at A3, prospective senior unsecured debt at (P)A3, and prospective subordinated and junior subordinated debt at (P)Baa1;

Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States -- insurance financial strength at

Aa3, surplus notes at A2, and commercial paper at Prime-1 (P-1);

AXA Financial Capital Trust I -- prospective preferred stock at (P)Baa1;

AXA Financial Capital Trust II -- prospective preferred stock at (P)Baa1;

AXA Financial Capital Trust III -- prospective preferred stock at (P)Baa1;

AXA Financial Capital Trust IV -- prospective preferred stock at (P)Baa1.

AXA Financial, Inc. is a financial services holding company based in New York, New York. As of March 31, 2004 and on the basis of U.S. GAAP, the company reported total consolidated assets of approximately $119 billion and shareholders' equity of about $8.7 billion. As of the same date, The MONY Group Inc. reported consolidated assets of approximately $22 billion and shareholders' equity of about $2.1 billion.

Moody's insurance financial strength ratings are opinions of the ability of insurance companies to repay punctually senior policyholder claims and obligations. For more information, visit our website at www.moodys.com/insurance.

New York
Robert Riegel
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Robert P. Donohue
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

No Related Data.
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