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Nationwide Financial Gets $2.2 Billion Buyout Offer

Nationwide Mutual Insurance on Monday offered to buy all the publicly listed shares of Nationwide Financial Services in a $2.2 billion move to simplify the mutual company's ownership structure.

Nationwide Mutual, along with other Nationwide affiliates, is offering holders of Nationwide Financial's Class A common stock $47.20 a share in cash -- a 24 percent premium over Friday's closing price of $37.93.

Shares in Nationwide Financial , which provides long-term savings and retirement products, soared more than 25 percent on the offer.

Prior to the announcement, Nationwide Financial shares had fallen 42 percent since hitting an all-time high of $65.52 in August.

Nationwide Mutual hopes a simpler ownership structure for the insurance and financial services group will help it improve customer service and boost revenue.

"The current structure is somewhat cumbersome," Nationwide Mutual spokesman Joe Case said.

Nationwide Mutual already owns all of Nationwide Financial's supervoting Class B shares, which represent 95.2 percent of the voting power and 66.3 percent of the equity, the company said.

Nationwide Financial, which had 46.7 million Class A shares outstanding as of Dec. 31, said it has appointed a special board committee made up of independent directors to consider the proposal.

The special committee, which has retained law firm Sidley Austin LLP as it legal adviser and Lazard as its financial adviser, will respond to the offer in due course, Nationwide Financial said.

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