- The Washington Times - Monday, January 31, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — The insurance giant MetLife Inc. is buying Travelers Life & Annuity Co. for at least $11.5 billion from Citigroup Inc., the nation’s largest financial institution.

The two companies, both based in New York, yesterday said the deal will make MetLife “the largest individual life insurer in North America, based on sales.”

In addition to buying Travelers Life, MetLife also is acquiring almost all of Citi’s international insurance business, the companies said.

The deal already has been approved by both companies’ boards and is expected to close in the summer, the companies said. A joint statement said the price was “subject to closing adjustments.”

MetLife shares dropped 19 cents, or 0.48 percent, to $39.75 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange. Citigroup shares advanced 67 cents, or 1.38 percent, to $49.05 on the Big Board.

Citigroup 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.

Martha Butler, an analyst with Fitch Ratings in Chicago, said that the agency affirmed MetLife’s long-term insurer rating because “this gives them more scale, better distribution channels.” She added: “They were probably attracted to (Citi’s) international business as well.”

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