Sumitomo To Acquire US Insurer In US$3.7 Billion Deal

Japan’s Sumitomo Life Insurance Company (Sumitomo) has agreed to acquire Symetra Financial Corporation (Symetra), a US life insurance company, for US$3.7 billion.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2016, subject to approvals from Symetra’s shareholders and the relevant regulatory authorities in Japan and the US. Upon closing, Symetra will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Japanese company, which will use its cash and deposits to fund the transaction.

Symetra will become the US life insurance arm of Sumitomo, which does not currently have a material operational presence in the US. Symetra’s president and chief executive officer, Thomas Marra, and the current management team will continue to lead the business from the company’s headquarters in Bellevue. The US firm, which provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance, will maintain its current brand, employees, distribution channels and product mix. Coupled with the resources from Sumitomo, Symetra expects the transaction to create a combined company with total assets of $250 billion.

Sumitomo expects the investments in the US life insurance market, which it believes will be driven by a population increase and growth of premium income per capita, to have a steady contribution to its earnings from the outset.

Commenting on the acquisition, Masahiro Hashimoto, president and chief executive officer at Sumitomo, said: “We are confident that this transaction will further enhance our financial and earnings foundation by expanding the size of overseas revenues, diversifying the revenue base and thereby enabling us to build a well-balanced overseas business portfolio across Asia and the US.”

Mr. Marra added: “Our vision and long-term plans for building Symetra into a national player are unchanged. We will be positioned better than ever to successfully execute on these plans.”

Symetra’s largest shareholders, White Mountains and Berkshire Hathaway, representing approximately 18% and 17% ownership of common shares respectively, have agreed to vote in favour of the transaction.

 

 

 

 

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