Liberty Mutual is exploring sales of European companies for $1 billion

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Liberty Mutual Holding Co. is considering a sale of its operations in Spain, Portugal and Ireland, according to people familiar with the matter, joining other U.S. insurers pulling out of the region.

The American insurer has partnered with Bank of America Corp. to the possible divestments, which could raise more than 1 billion euros ($1 billion), said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. The assets could spark interest from rival European insurers, the people said.

The talks are still in the early stages and may not lead to a transaction, the people said. Representatives from Liberty Mutual and Bank of America declined to comment.

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Liberty Mutual would join other peers who have sold non-core markets in Europe. New York-based MetLife Inc. agreed in July 2021 to sell its European life insurance business to Dutch insurer NN Group NV for nearly $700 million to streamline its global operations.

Liberty Mutual has experienced tremendous growth in the US property and casualty insurance business, including the acquisition of State Auto Financial Corp. for a value of about $2.3 billion earlier this year. The company is owned by its policyholders and with that structure is one of the more acquisitive insurers.

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Liberty Mutual sells everything from property and casualty to life insurance in Spain and Portugal through agents, banks and affiliates, according to its website. The company entered Ireland through a 2011 acquisition and offers personal car and home insurance, as well as business products.

Insurers account for about $33.4 billion in mergers and acquisitions this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, led by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s purchase of Alleghany Corp. for $11.6 billion.

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Photo: Job seekers speak with recruiters near the Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. booth. at the East Coast Career Fairs Boston Career Fair in Boston, Massachusetts on Monday, January 11, 2010. Photo credit: Michael Fein/Bloomberg

Copyright 2022 Bloomberg.

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