Monday, January 31, 2005

M&A Madness

It always fascinated me how the biggest deals on Wall St. always went down on Mondays. I guess when the rest of America is watching The Simpson's on their new plasmas, the financiers, deal makers, and CEOS are meeting late in the boardrooms, seen only by the cleaning crew. Anyways, Ma Bell was finally swallowed by its own child (yes I've read a lot of Freud in my day). AT&T stock has gone to hell ever since the advent of wireless commmications. 'Bout time something happened. More importantly, I just learned that my company's biggest rival decided to get bigger--they just scooped up Traveler's, a company my parents know a great deal more about than I do.
MetLife Inc. of New York said Monday it will buy Citigroup's Travelers Life&Annuity for about $11.5 billion in cash and stock. MetLife said the purchase will make it the largest life insurer in North America...MetLife projected the deal would boost 2006 earnings, said it agreed to pay about $1 billion to $3 billion in shares and the balance in cash.In the deal expected to close this summer, MetLife would take over all of Travelers Life&Annuity's domestic business in Hartford, Conn., as well as international insurance operations, through wholly owned units in the United Kingdom, Belguim, Australia, Brazil, Argentina and Poland. Citigroup will retain its life insurance business in Mexico.
Here's the kicker: cross-selling!
MetLife agreed to a 10-year distribution deal for selling its products through Citigroup channels such as Smith Barney and Citibank branches. Citigroup bought Travelers in October 1998 in a deal that some believed signaled a future of banking and insurance industry consolidations. But Citigroup has since spun off and sold the Travelers insurance business in pieces.

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