MetLife Inc. has agreed to sell its interest in a Japanese joint venture, Mitsui Sumitomo MetLife Insurance Co. Ltd. (MSI MetLife), to its partner in that enterprise.

MetLife Worldwide Holdings Inc. (MLWH), a unit of MetLife, New York (NYSE:MET), will sell its interest in MSI MetLife to the partner, MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. (MS&AD), Tokyo, for about $275 million.

MetLife said the deal would allow it to focus on developing the business of American Life Insurance Co., or Alico, an Asian insurer it is acquiring from American International Group Inc., New York.

MetLife expects to complete the deal around Apr. 1, 2001. MSI MetLife, which markets life insurance and annuities, will be renamed once its transfer to MS&AD is complete.

-Trevor Thomas