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The Journal Gazette

Friday, February 01, 2013 7:11 am

MetLife to spend $2 billion on pension business

The Associated Press

MetLife Inc. plans to pay about $2 billion to buy the largest private pension fund administrator in Chile, as the insurer and annuity provider seeks to build its presence in emerging markets.

The New York company said Friday it will conduct a public cash tender offer for all shares of AFP Provida SA.

The bank BBVA has agreed to transfer its stake of more than 64 percent in the company to MetLife as part of the deal, which also includes a small asset management business in Ecuador.

MetLife said the deal supports its focus on shifting the company's business mix to less capital intensive products. It said the acquisition should add about 5 cents per share to its operating earnings this year and 15 cents per share next year.

MetLife will pay for the deal using its existing cash balances. Its board has already approved the acquisition, but it still needs some regulatory approvals. MetLife expects it to close in the third quarter.

AFP Provida had about $45.3 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30.

MetLife shares closed at $37.34 on Thursday. Its shares are near the high end of their 52-week range. They traded as high as $39.55 last March and have recovered from a low of $27.60 set in June 2012.