March 8, 2011 / 9:38 PM / in 7 years

Sun Life tried to buy Unum: source

NEW YORK/TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO) tried to buy disability insurer Unum Group (UNM.N) earlier this year, but their talks did not lead to a deal, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

The talks fell apart in late January as the two sides could not agree on terms and governance, according to the source.

Unum is no longer up for sale but could be open to approaches, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported news of the talks.

Unum and Sun Life declined to comment. The source declined to be named because the talks were not public.

Unum, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has a market capitalization of about $8 billion. On February 2, the insurer said it would spend an additional $1 billion to buy back shares.

It posted a fourth-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates, weighed down by its supplemental and voluntary line of business and the UK segment.

    Sun Life, Canada’s No. 3 insurer, has said it could start taking on some larger acquisitions as it seeks growth in Asia, Canada and the United States.

    Last month, Chief Executive Don Stewart said that future acquisitions would be limited by fit, rather than size.

    Unum shares closed up 2.4 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, while Sun Life ended 0.7 percent higher in Toronto.

    Reporting by Paritosh Bansal in New York and Pav Jordan in Toronto; Editing by Richard Chang

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