Western & Southern Financial Group has agreed to a $1.55 billion deal with Nestlé S.A. that could bring ownership of Gerber Life Insurance Company back to the United States for the first time since 1994.
Western & Southern says the deal would include a long-term license to use Gerber Life intellectual property in connection with financial services.
Gerber is the company that owns the rights to the “Gerber baby” illustration, and Gerber Life has operated one of the most visible life insurance marketing programs in the United States.
In the past year, for example, the company has posted an ad video that attracted 2.5 million views on YouTube. Gerber Life is the only U.S. life insurer that ranks in the top 10 in terms of views, in the past year, for videos that show up in a YouTube search for the term “life insurance.”
Gerber Products is a baby food maker that was founded in 1927 in Michigan.
Gerber began selling life insurance in 1967.
The company as a whole merged with a Swiss pharmaceutical maker, Sandoz, in 1994. Sandoz eventually emerged with another company to form Novartis.
Novartis sold Gerber as a whole to Nestlé, in 2007, for $5.5 billion.
Gerber Life now has 3.6 million individual life policies in force, with average value of about $14,000 in death benefits per policy.
The deal with Western & Southern includes only the life insurance company and rights to use Gerber Life intellectual property, not the baby food operations.
Western & Southern