Prudential top bidder for Hartford life insurance business: Bloomberg

CHICAGO Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:44pm EDT

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Insurer Prudential Financial Inc. has emerged as the top bidder for the individual life insurance business of rival The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc, a sale that could be worth roughly $1 billion, Bloomberg reported on Saturday.

A possible deal between the No. 2 U.S. life insurer Prudential (PRU.N) and The Hartford (HIG.N) is still weeks away and could crumble, Bloomberg reported, citing two people with knowledge of the matter.

Under pressure from hedge fund manager and shareholder John Paulson, The Hartford said in March that it was shedding most of its life insurance-related businesses and focusing on property insurance.

At the end of July, it struck a deal to sell its Woodbury Financial Services brokerage unit to insurance giant American International Group Inc. (AIG.N)

Among the other companies interested in The Hartford's life insurance business is Birmingham, Alabama-based Protective Life Corporation (PL.N), Bloomberg reported.

Prudential and The Hartford declined to comment. Protective did not immediately return requests for comment.

(Reporting By Eric Johnson; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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