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Dai-ichi Life to Pay $5.7B for Protective Life

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Japan's Dai-ichi Life Insurance on Wednesday, June 4, agreed to buy Birmingham, Ala.-based Protective Life (PL - Get Report) for $5.7 billion to enter the U.S. life insurance market.

Dai-ichi said it would pay $70 per Protective share, a 34% premium to the stock's May 30 close, just before news of a pending deal leaked. The price is 19.2% higher than the stock's Tuesday close of $58.72.

News of the deal first emerged over the weekend, sparking Dai-ichi confirm its interest in U.S. life insurance targets on Monday. The deal will create the world's 13th largest insurer, with assets of $424 billion, Dai-ichi said, and give the Japanese company its first foothold in the U.S. life market.

"We look forward to working with Protective's management and employees, who will play an integral part in the long-term, continued success of the combined company, to grow our business and build on Protective's commitments to its customers, distributors and the communities in which it operates," said Dai-ichi Life President Koichiro Watanabe in a statement.

Dai-ichi said it will make no changes to Protective's management. John Johns will remain president and CEO of the target.

NYSE-listed Protective Life, founded in 1907, last month posted $96.5 million in operating earnings in the first quarter of 2014, up 34% over a year ago. It has assets of $68.8 billion.

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