American International Group Inc. may be back in the market for large-scale deals.
The insurer was in talks to buy Voya Financial Inc. in a transaction valued at more than $10 billion before negotiations fell apart in November over the price, according to people familiar with the matter.
It’s unclear whether the discussions will be renewed, said the people, who asked not to be identified talking about possible purchases. But they signal AIG Chief Executive Officer Brian Duperreault’s interest in completing big transactions after years of retrenching and cost-cutting following the company’s near demise during the financial crisis.
“I want us to be better and better balanced and have more diversification on earnings stream,” Duperreault told analysts in a November conference call. In thinking of deals, “My first thought is, is it strategic? Is it something that makes us better? Do we get better people or better technology or better market penetration?”
Voya’s shares climbed 4.4% to a record high of $52.75 at 2:03 p.m. in New York and have gained 30% in the past year. AIG advanced 1.4% to $61.10.
Duperreault joined AIG in May of 2017 after the firm tussled with activist investors, who were pushing for a break up of the insurer. In his first earnings call as CEO, Duperreault said he would use excess capital for improving the business and pursuing acquisitions. Billionaire Carl Icahn, who won representation on the company’s board, eased off his demands for asset sales to give the executive a chance to execute his plans, people familiar with the investor’s thinking have said.
Duperreault has said he would consider transactions in areas such as life insurance, international markets, personal lines and small-to middle-market U.S. firms. It’s a shift for AIG, which had sold nearly $100 billion of assets since 2008, first to repay a government bailout and then to streamline operations. U.S. regulators also decided in September that AIG would no longer be labeled a systemically important financial institution, clearing the way for the insurer to expand.