MetLife on Thursday announced it is rebranding its Charlotte-based U.S. retail life insurance business as “Brighthouse Financial,” the latest step in the insurer’s plan to split off the business.
New York-based MetLife said back in January that it planned to shed much of its retail business in order to decrease its size and limit federal capital requirements as a result of its controversial (andpotentially overturned) “SIFI” designation.
MetLife said in a statement Thursday it is still evaluating options regarding the timing and the form the separation will take. In January, MetLife said possibilities include a spinoff, sale or an initial public offering of shares in an independent, publicly traded company.
“This marks an important step in MetLife’s efforts to separate our U.S. Retail business,” MetLife Chairman, President and CEO Steven A. Kandarian said. “As a separate entity, Brighthouse will benefit from greater focus and more flexibility in products and operations.
“At the same time, this separation will also bring significant benefits to MetLife as we focus even more intently on our group business in the U.S., where we have long been the market leader, as well as on our international operations. Our goal is to complete the separation process with both the separated business and MetLife well-positioned for success in the years to come.”
Brighthouse Financial will be led by current MetLife Executive Vice President Eric Steigerwalt.
“Our optimistic outlook on what we will create for people’s financial futures, coupled with our guiding principles of simplicity and transparency, are captured in our name, Brighthouse,” Steigerwalt said.
MetLife’s use of Snoopy and Peanuts characters in its marketing and branding will not extend to Brighthouse Financial, and MetLife Stadium in New Jersey – home of the New York Giants and Jets – will continue to keep that name.
No shareholder approval is expected to be necessary for the Brighthouse Financial separation. The MetLife Board of Directors would have to approve any separation transaction; certain insurance and other regulatory approvals would also be necessary. The transaction would also need to comply with any U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirements. No assurance can be given regarding the form that a separation transaction may take or the specific terms thereof, or that a separation will in fact occur.
• Thoughts about the separation/new brand? Please visit this thread: MetLife rebrands retail life biz as Brighthouse Financial
About MetLife: MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“MetLife”), is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. Founded in 1868, MetLife is a global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Serving approximately 100 million customers, MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.