MetLife's European insurance assets acquisition by Generali on stand by

5 December 2019 — Daniela GHETU
Italian insurance group Generali could postpone presenting a formal bid for the European assets of MetLife Inc. until end March 2020, after the 2019 year-end results will be known, international news agencies report. Currently, the talks between the two parts are stalling because the difference of opinion on the operation's value.

The first market rumors spread earlier this year, mentioning a possible deal worth about EUR 2 billion, targeting the US player's assets in several European markets including Britain, France, Italy and Eastern Europe, where the possible acquisitions on the insurance markets of Poland, Czechia, Romania and Hungary are considered of the highest interest.

However, after six months of talks and with the process of due diligence almost concluded, the deal may go off because of the difference of opinions regarding its overall value. The management changes at the top of MetLife have also delayed the entire process. According to sources familiar with the negotiations, no deal is to be expected until the year-end, the final decision being rather delayed until after the first quarter, when the 2019-year results will be known.

According to Generali's CEO Philippe DONET statements by the end of last year, the Italian group had about EUR 4 billion to spend for acquiring small and medium-sized insurance companies in Eastern Europe in order to further increase its presence in the region. "We are ready to capture market opportunities, thanks to our strong market position and a highly efficient regional platform", also stated in an interview published on the insurer' website, Luciano CIRINA, Austria, CEE & Russia Regional Officer and CEO of GENERALI CEE Holding.

In 2019, besides finalizing one of its most important acquisitions in the CEE, the Slovene insurer ADRIATIC Slovenica, and progressing with the merger of the Polish Concordia life and non-life insurance companies bought last year with the local Generali subsidiaries, in October the Group has also announced it will expand on the Croatian insurance market by acquiring the business of local non-life insurer IZVOR osiguranje.

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