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OSLO Feb 26 (Reuters) - Norwegian general insurer Gjensidige has sold its 20.1 percent stake in life insurer Storebrand for $539 million as it refocuses its strategy on its own activities.
Gjensidige, until now the biggest shareholder in Storebrand, sold its stake to stock market investors at a price of 36 crowns per share, a discount of 3.1 percent against the price of Storebrand shares at the close of trading on Tuesday.
Gjensidige did not specify why it was selling out of the firm. But Storebrand's shares have declined 26 percent in value since March 2011 and Gjensidige had previously said it wanted to focus on its own business.
New capital requirements have also made it more expensive than before to operate in the life insurance sector.
The accounting gain from the transaction is expected to be around 115 million Norwegian crowns ($19 million), Gjensidige said in a statement.
The sale comes just two weeks after Gjensidige failed to attract satisfactory bids for a large stake in Sparebank 1 SR-Bank.
The bookrunners on the latest deal were Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Pareto Securities.
($1 = 6.0369 Norwegian kroner) (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, Editing by Ole Petter Skonnord and Mark Potter)