MetLife to acquire Travelers Life & Annuity from Citigroup for at least $11.5 billion

Monday, January 31st 2005, 9:43 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ The insurance giant MetLife Inc. announced Monday that it was acquiring Travelers Life & Annuity Co. from Citigroup Inc. for at least $11.5 billion.

The two companies, both based in New York, said in a statement that the deal will make MetLife ``the largest individual life insurer in North America, based on sales.''

The deal already has been approved by both boards and is expected to close in the summer, the statement said.

It said the price was ``subject to closing adjustments.''

Citigroup, the nation's largest financial institution, had retained Travelers Life & Annuity in 2002 when it spun off Travelers Property Casualty Corp. in a $5 billion initial public offering. Travelers Property merged with St. Paul Cos. Inc. in 2003 to create The St. Paul Travelers Cos., based in St. Paul, Minn.

The Wall Street Journal, in Monday editions, disclosed that the merger talks were under way.

MetLife shares rose 20 cents to $40.14 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange, and Citigroup shares advances 77 cents to $49.15.

The move continues a trend of Citigroup selling off several of its noncore businesses. In November, the company sold a truck-leasing operation to General Electric Co., for $4.4 billion. It also sold its European vendor-finance leasing operation for CIT Group Inc.

The transaction encompasses Travelers Life & Annuity's business in the United States and its international operations other than Citigroup's life business in Mexico.