MetLife announced today that it has come up with a new name for its U.S. life insurance business, which will be divested in a few months. The entity will be named Brighthouse Financial. The move by MetLife is a response to a changing regulatory environment that is producing higher capital requirements. This unit represents about 20% of MetLife’s annual earnings.
MetLife had announced in January that it would be divesting the company through a spinoff, a sale, or an initial public offering—the exact path to separation has not been announced. Some analysts suggest that a spinoff is the likeliest course for MetLife because the unit is relatively large and has hefty capital requirements. This would limit the number of potential buyers.
Brighthouse Financial will offer annuities and life policies to individuals. The business will be led by Eric Steigerwalt. MetLife will focus its efforts on group sales, where it has a strong market presence. MetLife’s move will separate the parts of the company with the best growth prospects, such as its overseas operations, from activities that are slower growing or that have larger capital cushion requirements.
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