Bloomberg News

MetLife Seeks Deals in Latin America as ING Considers Sale

June 01, 2011

(Adds Prudential CEO’s comments in the seventh paragraph.)

June 1 (Bloomberg) -- MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, said it’s weighing acquisitions in Latin America as ING Groep NV considers selling its business in the region.

“We’ve been looking at possibilities in Latin America for some time,” MetLife Chairman Robert Henrikson said today at a conference in New York, where the company is based. “Our Latin American businesses, we have a really strong track record there, really strong management teams, and so, why not?”

Henrikson, 64, boosted MetLife’s business outside the U.S. through acquisitions before stepping down as chief executive officer last month. He bought a life insurer for more than $16 billion in November from bailed-out American International Group Inc., adding clients in Japan, Poland and Chile. Amsterdam-based ING is reviewing options for its insurance assets in Latin America as the company recovers from losses and a bailout.

“We do see opportunities that would be considered either tuck-ins or bolt-ons because of our international size and scope,” Henrikson said at a conference organized by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Henrikson didn’t comment on ING.

ING received a bid for Latin American insurance assets from a group that includes Chile’s Luksic family and Mexico’s Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said last month.

“We’re still evaluating options for our Latin American insurance business,” said Raymond Vermeulen, a spokesman for ING. He declined to give details.

Prudential’s Strangfeld

Prudential Financial Inc., the second-biggest U.S. life insurer, is considering further acquisitions after completing a $4.8 billion deal this year to acquire two Japan businesses from AIG. Prudential CEO John Strangfeld, 57, said in a separate presentation today that his Newark, New Jersey-based company has funds to invest.

Prudential has “the capital available for the right opportunities to expand geographically through acquisition,” Strangfeld said.

--Editor: Dan Kraut, William Ahearn

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in New York at afrye@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net


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