NU Online News Service, May 28, 3:18 p.m. – MetLife Inc., New York, says the Mexican government has accepted its $965 million bid for Aseguradora Hidalgo S.A., Mexico City, a life insurance company.

Hidalgo executives have up to five business days to match the MetLife offer. The deal is also subject to final regulatory approvals.

MetLife says it will use cash on hand to pay for the deal.

MetLife, which has been in Mexico for more than 10 years and already has 1.3 million Mexican insurance and annuity customers, notes that the Mexican life market has been growing twice as fast as the U.S. market.

Hidalgo, a 70-year-old firm, is the largest life insurer in Mexico, with a market share of about 30%. It has traditionally focused on the government market, selling group insurance products to government agencies and individual products to government workers through payroll deduction programs.

Hidalgo distributes its products through an independent agency force, MetLife says.