Why MetLife Is in Talks with MassMutual

February 25, 2016, 3:57 PM UTC
A sign hangs atop the MetLife Building, the headquarters of
UNITED STATES - MAY 06: A sign hangs atop the MetLife Building, the headquarters of MetLife Inc., in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. MetLife Inc. is one of the 19 U.S. banks being put through a stress test by regulators, the results of which are expected to be released tomorrow. (Photo by Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Photograph by Jonathan Fickies — Bloomberg/Getty Images

MetLife Inc (MET), which is in the process of trimming down its businesses, said it was in talks with MassMutual Financial Group (MCI) regarding a possible sale of MetLife Premier Client Group, its U.S. retail adviser group.

“There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached or that a transaction will be consummated,” MetLife, the largest U.S. life insurer, said in a statement on Thursday.

MassMutual, a Springfield, Massachusetts-based life insurer, also said it was in talks with MetLife, without giving further details.

MetLife said in January that it planned to separate a substantial portion of its U.S. retail business from the core company, adding the “regulatory environment” helped drive its decision.

The company’s U.S. retail business has been struggling. The unit’s operating income dropped 33% in the third quarter and fell 19% in the fourth quarter.

MetLife’s Chief Executive Steven Kandarian has said the lagging retail section “risks higher capital requirements that could put it at a significant competitive disadvantage.”

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