(Bloomberg) – Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., the insurer that’s been focusing on property-casualty coverage, is near a deal to sell Japan operations to Orix Corp., according to two people with knowledge of their talks.
The transaction would include retirement products known as variable annuities, said the people, who asked not to be identified because discussions are private. Orix would pay about $875 million, according to Nikkei, which reported on the talks earlier today.
Hartford Chief Executive Officer Liam McGee, 59, has sold a U.S. unit to Prudential Financial Inc. and added hedges to guard against currency fluctuations and stock-market declines as he seeks to limit liabilities tied to life and retirement contracts issued in prior years. He announced a deal last year to sell a U.K. variable annuity unit to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
“We continue to look at ways to further accelerate the runoff of the legacy annuity block and to permanently eliminate these exposures, Shannon Lapierre, a spokeswoman for the Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer, said in an e-mail today. ‘‘A transaction is one of the options we would evaluate.’’
Hartford advanced 0.9 percent to $35.25 at 4:15 p.m. in New York trading, paring its decline this year to 2.7 percent.