Chase Manhattan Corp. and First Union Corp. joined forces and unexpectedly won the mandate to lead a $1.1 billion loan for Conseco Inc., bank officials said.

Conseco, the $10.8 billion-asset insurance powerhouse based in Carmel, Ind., will use an estimated $728 million to purchase the remaining outstanding shares of two affiliate companies, Bankers Life Holding and CCP Insurance. The rest of the loan will refinance outstanding debt and provide working capital.

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