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MetLife says operating income falls, authorizes $2 bln buyback

Nov 1 (Reuters) - MetLife Inc reported a 13.8 percent fall in quarterly operating income on Wednesday, hurt by a charge related to the spin off of its U.S. retail business, Brighthouse Financial, and the insurer authorized a $2 billion share buyback plan.

MetLife said that it intends to divest its remaining Brighthouse Financial Inc common stock through an exchange offer for MetLife common stock during 2018.

Net operating income, which excludes investment and derivative gains or losses, fell to $1.17 billion, or $1.09 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from $1.36 billion, or $1.22 per share, a year earlier.

The quarter included the results of Brighthouse's final month with MetLife before the spinoff became effective on Aug. 4, following which MetLife ceded the title of the largest U.S. life insurer by assets to Prudential Financial.

New York-based MetLife booked a third-quarter charge of $1.1 billion related to the Brighthouse spinoff, more than the $1 billion it had previously estimated. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru and Suzanne Barlyn in New York; Editing by Savio D'Souza)