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MetLife announced Tuesday that it plans to separate its U.S. life insurance unit — the largest in the country.
Specifically, MetLife said it plans to pursue the separation of "a substantial portion" of its U.S. Retail segment. The company said it is looking at "structural alternatives for such a separation," including a public offering of shares in an independent company, a spin-off, or a sale.
Shares in the company rose more than 8 percent higher in after-hours trading on the news.
Steven Kandarian, MetLife's chairman, president and CEO, cast the proposed separation as the result of the company's strategic initiative to accelerate shareholder value.
"MetLife has been evaluating opportunities to increase sustainable cash generation and is directing capital to businesses where we can achieve a clear competitive advantage and deliver a differentiated value proposition for customers," he said in a statement. "This analysis considers the regulatory and economic environment in each market where we do business. We have concluded that an independent new company would be able to compete more effectively and generate stronger returns for shareholders."