The Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa, has announced a strategic agreement to acquire Diversified Dental Services, Inc., a Nevada-based independent dental preferred provider organization (PPO). The transaction is expected to close on Oct. 1, 2007.

“The acquisition of Diversified Dental Services furthers our national dental network strategy of offering more providers and better pricing for members and business partners,” said Deanna Strable, senior vice president of the Specialty Benefits Division of The Principal. “Diversified Dental Services brings a proven track record of building and growing regional networks. We look forward to using their experience to continue expanding our owned network coverage.”

Diversified Dental Services, Inc. contracts with more than 1,500 dentists in Nevada and parts of Utah, California, Arizona, Mississippi, and Tennessee to offer discounts to PPO members who obtain dental care from a network dentist. The dental PPO will continue to be available through employers, insurance companies and associations, often combined with a dental benefits plan. The Principal currently operates a national dental network with more than 76,000 providers across 37 states, plus the District of Columbia.

“The Principal Financial Group has a strong reputation in the dental industry, making it a good fit for our customers” said Dan Volle, president, Diversified Dental Services, Inc. “With this agreement, Diversified Dental Services, Inc. can now better serve new and existing customers with more products, services, and support.”

Bruce Hentschel, dental managed care director for The Principal, commented, “Ultimately our extensive network agreements allow us to drive greater value for our members, which encourages them to seek routine dental exams to improve both oral and overall health. We continue to look for new ways to bolster our networks and provide innovative products and services for our customers.”