Mass Mutual Life Insurance to buy MetLife's US retail advisor force

Shares of MetLife moved nearly 1 percent lower Monday after it said it would sell its U.S. retail advisor force to another top insurer.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance on Monday agreed to acquire MetLife's Premier Client Group to broaden its geographic reach and expand its dominance in the life insurance industry, the companies said in a release. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but are "not material" to MassMutual, the statement said.

"This transaction will enable our U.S. retail business to sharpen its focus on its core strength in product manufacturing while also providing a broader distribution network through the partnership with MassMutual," MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian said, in a statement. "By decoupling manufacturing from distribution, our U.S. retail business will be more agile, and both MetLife and the U.S. retail business can achieve significant cost savings."

The two companies had been reported to be in talks over the unit — which encompasses more than 40 sales and advisory operations and about 4,000 advisors. MetLife said earlier this year it would spin off its retail segment to create more value for shareholders in the current economic and regulatory environment.

In addition to MetLife's retail advisor firms, the transaction will encompass certain MetLife employees who support the MetLife Premier Client Group; MetLife's affiliated broker-dealer, MetLife Securities; and certain assets associated with the MetLife Premier Client Group, including employee contracts.