Deals wrap: Dai-ichi’s $1.2 billion deal

A man walks past the sign of Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance at its headquarters in Tokyo March 19, 2010. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-HoonDai-ichi Life Insurance Co will take full control of Tower Australia Group Ltd for $1.2 billion in cash, the latest in overseas acquisitions by Japanese insurers keen to move away from a stagnant home market.

ChemChina plans to buy 60 percent of Israel’s MA Industries in China’s latest move to expand in the global agricultural chemicals market.

The red-hot trading market that has developed in the shares of privately held stocks has drawn the attention of the SEC, writes the NYT’s Peter Latman.

NTR’s Tessera Solar has suffered a major setback with the loss of a 663.5-megawatt power purchase agreement with utility Southern California Edison for its Calico solar power plant project, writes Todd Woody.

Stronger regional currencies may drive an M&A revival, writes Chana R. Schoenberger from the Dow Jones Newswires.

The afternoon deal: Beyond the billions paid

The MetLife building is seen in New York, March 8, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton It was a two-year quest to seal the MetLife deal for Alico.  Beyond the $15.5 billion purchase price, what does it mean for the companies and the life insurance sector?

MetLife seals Alico deal after two-year quest
Factbox: AIG’s progress on asset sales

From the Web:

A.I.G. Sells Unit to MetLife (NYT)
“Now comes the hard part.” – NYT

MetLife gets new life from AIG

MetLife is moving up in Japan, the world’s second-largest life insurance market, with the $15.5 billion purchase of Alico from AIG. The unit accounted for 70 percent of Alico’s pre-tax operating income in fiscal year. It also has operations in Europe and emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Much like the $35.5 billion sale of AIG’s Hong Kong-based AIA subsidiary the week before to Prudential of the U.K, a chunk of AIG is a transformative expansion for Metlife.

Both AIG and Metlife share rose on the news – one of those win-win deals, the market says. But if you want to be skeptical, just keep in mind that AIG is still only part of the way towards repaying the $182.3 billion it owes the U.S. government and Metlife has just exposed itself to an aging Japanese population with prospects in some ways even more worrying than in the U.S., given its lost decade and its near-routine bouts of deflation.

One thing Metlife will not have to worry about is having a government functionary on its board. Though the sale features a sizable equity component from AIG, we’re told that the chance of Uncle Sam calling the shots at yet another major U.S. corporation is nil.

AIG’s revolving CEO door

The Wall Street Journal reports AIG Chief Executive Robert Benmosche threatened to walk last week. Chafing after the recent compensation review by pay czar Ken Feinberg, Benmosche reportedly told AIG directors he was “done,” but the board talked him down and he agreed to think it over.

Benmosche took over as the insurer’s chief executive in August, becoming the fourth person to hold the post in about a year. On his watch, the recipient of up to $180 billion of federal aid, including more than $80 billion in loans, posted its second straight quarterly profit last week.

A recovery in the value of AIG’s investments has helped improve the bottom line at the 80 percent state-owned insurer, and it may be that the next CEO, if Benmosche catches the revolving door on the fly, will be able to justify better pay on improving performance. AIG said at the end of October it was no longer looking to sell two Japanese units, AIG Edison Life Insurance and AIG Star Life insurance, because it now believes they will help improve its corporate value.

Deals du Jour

library photo of A man and a security guard are reflected behind a logo of a Japan's insurance company in Tokyo November 26, 2008. Japanese life insurers are shying away from investing in U.S. Treasuries because of their falling yields, officials at the insurers said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN)Clive Cowdery’s Resolution has won over shareholders of Friends Provident, agreeing to pay 1.86 billion pounds for the British life insurer. Here are some facts about the pair. Whether the move will lead to a wave of consolidation in the sector remains to be seen, though last week the head of rival Standard Life told Reuters that it had no plans to make any deals.

Other M&A news today includes:

The total value of distressed-debt deals totalled $84.4 billion this year, the Wall Street Journal said, almost double the figure last year. Here’s Reuters’ story.

Private equity fund Dubai International Capital and distressed debt investor Oaktree Capital have abandoned plans to team up to restructure the debts of German aluminium firm Almatis, the Financial Times said.