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Debevoise, Eversheds guide Prudential's $3.5-bln retirement biz sale

2 minute read

REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

  • Prudential selling units to strengthen overall business
  • Debevoise, Eversheds both representing long-time clients

(Reuters) - Prudential Financial Inc has turned to Debevoise & Plimpton as it looks to sell its full-service retirement business to insurer Great-West Lifeco Inc's U.S. subsidiary, Empower Retirement, for C$4.45 billion (roughly $3.5 billion).

Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential and Empower, which tapped lawyers from Eversheds Sutherland, announced the transaction in a joint press release on Wednesday as Prudential continues its plans to strengthen its overall business.

For longtime client Prudential, Debevoise fielded a team led by insurance mergers and acquisitions partner Thomas Kelly, with support from insurance counsel Robert Fettman and M&A counsel Andrew Jamieson.

Debevoise has supported Prudential on several business unit sales as the insurer looks to become a“higher growth, less market sensitive, more nimble business,” Prudential Chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey said in Wednesday’s statement.

Most recently, the firm advised Prudential in the offloading of its Taiwan- and Korea-based arms last year, according to firm press releases.

On the other side of Prudential’s latest sale, the Eversheds team guiding Empower is led by insurance M&A partner Bert Adams and includes corporate partner Matthew Hazlett, and counsel Sean Diamond and Kevin Finnegan.

Eversheds also worked with the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based company on its acquisition of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co’s retirement services business last year. MassMutual turned to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom on the transaction.

The deal between Prudential and Empower is expected to close in 2022’s first quarter.

Prudential’s financial adviser is Lazard, while Empower’s are Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and Rockefeller Capital Management.

Prudential said on Wednesday that its retirement business covers about 4 million participants, 4,300 workplace savings plans and has $314 billion in assets under administration.

Empower’s base will expand to over 16.6 million participants, 71,000 workplace savings plans and roughly $1.4 trillion in assets under administration through the acquisition of the Prudential business.

Canadian Great-West Lifeco sells life and health insurance besides having interests in reinsurance, asset management and retirement savings. It has operations in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Read more:

Prudential sells retirement business to Great-West Lifeco in $3.51 billion deal

Insurer Great-West's unit to buy MassMutual's retirement business for C$4.4 bln

Taishin to buy Prudential's Taiwan unit for $187 million

Sierra Jackson reports on legal matters in major mergers and acquisitions, including deal work, litigation and regulatory changes. Reach her at sierra.jackson@thomsonreuters.com

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