MetLife board approves Brighthouse spinoff, sets effective date

A MetLife Inc building is shown in Irvine, California, U.S., January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - MetLife Inc MET.N on Thursday came a step closer to spinning off its U.S. retail life insurance and annuity business after the company's board of directors approved the plan, it said on Thursday.

The board set July 19 as the effective date for the spinoff of Brighthouse Financial Inc, with shares to be distributed on Aug. 4, subject to approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said.

MetLife common shareholders will receive one share of Brighthouse Financial common stock for every 11 shares of MetLife common stock they own as of the close of business on July 19, assuming SEC approval, MetLife said.

The SEC’s approval will be the last hurdle for MetLife to complete the Brighthouse spinoff. On Wednesday, Delaware insurance regulators approved Brighthouse’s request to acquire key MetLife businesses operating in Delaware and do business in the state under the Brighthouse name.

Brighthouse Life Insurance Company, domiciled in Delaware, will have more than 2 million policies and annuity contracts in force and more than $220 billion in assets, the Delaware insurance regulator said on Thursday.

Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Matthew Lewis