Nationwide Mutual Insurance
said Thursday that it would buy
Gartmore Investment Management
Royal Bank of Scotland
for $1.6 billion.
The purchase gives Nationwide, the sixth-largest U.S. life insurer, a long-sought foothold in Europe as it works to establish a global name, said Bob Beasley, spokesman for the company.
Nationwide manages $115 billion in assets, while Gartmore manages more than $85 billion, according to the companies. London-based Gartmore also manages pension funds, with operations in the U.S., Japan and Germany.
Royal Bank put Gartmore up for sale after acquiring it in a takeover of
National Westminster Bank
. The purchase is by far Natiowide's largest foray into Europe. The company has owned
, a German auto insurer, since the 1960s.
, the company's international unit, bought
in Luxembourg in late 1998.
The company intends to concentrate on financial services with the acquisition. Beasley said Nationwide had no plans to bolster its insurance business with side-by-side sales of asset management services and insurance policies.
The deal is the largest of its kind since 1997, when
Mercury Asset Management
for $5.3 billion.