Brighthouse Separates From MetLife, Debuts on Nasdaq Market
August 8, 2017 by Marie Suszynski
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Brighthouse Financial Inc. has completed its separation from MetLife Inc. and began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Aug. 7.
The spinoff created two independent, publicly traded companies. Brighthouse is trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol “BHF,” while MetLife will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Under the terms of the separation, MetLife shareholders received a distribution of one share of Brighthouse common stock for every 11 shares of MetLife common stock they held as of July 19. Those owning less than 11 shares of common stock received cash.
“As a financially strong, independent company, we believe Brighthouse Financial is well positioned to deliver simpler, more transparent annuity and life insurance solutions that are valuable to our distribution partners, the clients they serve and our shareholders,” Eric Steigerwalt, president and chief executive officer of Brighthouse, said in a statement.
Brighthouse has $219 billion of total assets and more than 2.7 million annuity contracts and life insurance policies in-force.
For MetLife, the separation helps the company become simpler and more efficient, Steven Kandarian, MetLife’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a separate statement.
“The spinoff is the centerpiece of MetLife’s continuing transformation into a less capital-intensive company with stronger free cash flow,” Kandarian said.
MetLife Asset Management will manage $80 billion for Brighthouse, Kandarian said on Aug. 4 during a conference call. He said the separation “marks an inflection point for MetLife” (Best’s News Service, Aug. 3, 2017).
In May, Brighthouse sought regulatory approval in Massachusetts to acquire control of New England Life Insurance Co., part of a series of transactions to move MetLife retail life and annuity operations to Brighthouse (Best’s News Service, May 18, 2017).
MetLife moved to separate Brighthouse to maintain competitiveness and free from federal systemically important financial institution costs.
Steigerwalt and Kandarian rang the opening bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square in New York on Aug. 7. Steigerwalt and Brighthouse associates planned to ring the closing bell the same day from the company’s headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.
By the afternoon of Aug. 7, shares of Brighthouse Financial (NASDAQ: BHF) were trading at $61.72, down 4.41% from the company’s debut.
Shares of MetLife (NYSE: MET) were trading at $48.53, up 1% from the previous close.
Brighthouse Life Insurance Co. has a current Best’s Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent). Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. has a current rating of A+ (Superior).
(By Marie Suszynski, BestWeek Correspondent: Marie.Suszynski@ambest.com)