(Bloomberg) — Nippon Life Insurance Co., Japan’s biggest life insurer by assets, plans to acquire Mitsui Life Insurance Co. as early as in September, according to people with knowledge of the deal.
Nippon Life plans to offer 300 billion yen ($2.5 billion) to 400 billion yen for at least an 80 percent stake in Mitsui Life, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public.
Buying Mitsui Life would contrast with a wave of multibillion-dollar takeovers abroad by Japanese insurers as the country’s aging population limits growth prospects at home. Purchasing the company would help Nippon Life vie with Dai-ichi LifeInsurance Co. as Japan’s largest earner of insurancepremium income.
“Nippon Life has been looking for a way to take back a clear No. 1 position from Dai-ichi Life,” said Mac Salman, head of Japan financials research at Jefferies Group LLC in Tokyo. “Mitsui may well have been an available and fast way for them to do that domestically.”
Nippon Life plans to spend as much as 500 billion yen on acquisitions, including overseas insurers and asset managers, according to a three-year business plan released in March. Previously, its strategy involved taking minority stakes in companies such as AIA Group Ltd. in Hong Kong, Indonesia’s Sequis Life and Reliance Group in India.
Shinichiro Kon, a spokesman for Nippon Life, confirmed the company is considering acquisitions as part of the plan, while declining to be more specific. Mitsui Life spokesman Norihito Kamakura said nothing has been decided.