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Sun Life said in talks to buy Assurant’s employee benefits arm

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(Bloomberg) — Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX:SLF) is in talks to buy Assurant Inc.’s employee benefits unit, people with knowledge of the matter said.

A deal valuing the unit at as much as $900 million could be announced within two weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. A sale hasn’t been finalized and the talks could still fall apart, they said.

Assurant (NYSE:AIZ), based in New York, said in April that it was working with Barclays PLC to find buyers for the division as it seeks to narrow its focus. The assets for sale include life, disability, dental, vision and other types of insurance that people acquire through their employer.

See also: Assurant confident about benefits unit sale

Representatives for Toronto-based Sun Life, Barclays and Assurant declined to comment.

Sun Life, Canada’s third-largest life insurer, has been seeking to expand its geographic reach and diversify earnings through acquisitions, agreeing in June to buy asset manager Prime Advisors.

Assurant’s shares dropped 4.4 percent to $71.59 at the close in New York, giving the insurer a market value of about $4.8 billion. Sun Life fell 4.2 percent to C$39.26, for a market value of about C$24 billion ($18 billion).

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