MetLife in advanced discussions to buy BBVA Chile pension business

MetLife

MetLife is in advanced talks to buy the Chilean pension management unit of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, which has a market value of more than $2 billion, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

MetLife executives might be prepared to sign a deal for the unit, known as AFP Provida, within days or weeks, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. The discussions could falter and another bidder could always prevail, one of the people said.

MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian is pursuing growth beyond the U.S. as low interest rates and sluggish economic expansion pressure profit at the nation's largest life insurer. MetLife follows Principal Financial Group in seeking revenue from Latin America; Principal in October agreed to buy Chilean pension provider AFP Cuprum for about $1.5 billion.

John Calagna, a MetLife spokesman, declined to comment on negotiations, as did Paul Tobin at BBVA. Chilean media, including La Segunda online, have previously reported MetLife's interest.

Provida is Chile's largest pension fund manager, with about $45.5 billion under management as of Nov. 30, according to data from the country's pensions regulator. Chilean pension providers, called AFPs, manage a total of $160 billion in assets, according to the regulator.