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EU Approves MetLife, ALICO Deal

MetLife's acquisition of ALICO has been approved by European Union regulators.
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(MET) - Get MetLife Inc. Report

$15.5 billion acquisition of

American International Group


(AIG) - Get American International Group Inc. Report

ALICO unit has been approved by European Union regulators.

The transaction will make MetLife the largest life insurer in the United States and Mexico and also expand its presence in the Middle East, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe. The deal is supposed to close by the end of the year.

"We are pleased to see the Commission's announcement that the transaction has been approved, and we are moving forward with our plans to complete the acquisition in the fourth quarter," a company spokesperson said in a statement. " I would say this acquisition is a strategic combination that will enhance and balance MetLife's geographic and product mix, and significantly increases the company's distribution power."

Earlier this month MetLife completed a planned equity offering of 75 million shares of common stock -- in addition to selling 11.25 million shares of common stock -- to fund the acquisition of ALICO. MetLife also offered up $3 billion of senior debt.

AIG has been selling off assets to repay the government bailout of 2008. The insurer

announced Monday that it had paid back about $4 billion dollars to the government thanks to a debt sale of its aircraft leasing business. AIG is expected to announce another payment to the government after the sale of ALICO is completed.

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AIG has been working on raising more capital to pay the government back through a initial public offering of

American International Assurance

(AIA) after a $35 billion sale to


fell through.

Separately, AIG said it was committed to selling a stake in

Nan Shan Life Insurance


China Strategic Holdings


Primus Financial Holdings

. The $2.15 billion deal is expected to close in October, according to published reports.

AIG currently owes the government $101 billion and the Federal Reserve a credit line of $21 billion plus interest.


Written by Maria Woehr in New York