(Bloomberg) — Nippon Life Insurance Co., Japan’s biggest life insurer by assets, and Mitsui LifeInsurance Co. said they have reached an agreement to merge as the nation’s insurance companies seek ways to counter slowing growth.
Nippon Life and Mitsui Life plan to finalize the deal by early November and complete the merger by March, according to a joint statement Friday. Nippon Life plans to start a tender offer for Mitsui Life’s shares as early as October and eventually hold 85 percent of the rival, according to the statement. Details of the tender offer were not given. Neither company is publicly traded.
The acquisition is in contrast with a recent spate of multibillion-dollar takeovers abroad by Japanese insurers as the country’s aging population limits growth prospects at home. Excluding the Nippon Lifedeal, Japanese insurers have announced $24.5 billion of acquisitions this year, compared with $6.2 billion a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
By acquiring Mitsui Life, Nippon Life is positioning itself as the country’s biggest earner of insurance premium income, ahead of Dai-ichi LifeInsurance Co.
There have been $92 billion of insurance acquisitions announced globally this year, up from $33.9 billion the same period in 2014, the data show.
The companies also said in the joint statement that they have agreed not to change the trade name and brand of Mitsui Life.