MetLife Inc. told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it expects to win approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for a deal to sell banking assets to General Electric Co. and can’t specify when permission may be granted.
“We do not believe that any events have occurred that ultimately will interfere with or materially threaten the consummation of the transaction,” New York-based MetLife said in a May 21 letter to the SEC that was released today.
MetLife Chief Executive Officer Steven Kandarian, who is working to limit U.S. oversight after regulators rejected his plan to raise the dividend, said in March that the insurer would probably no longer have bank status by the end of June. He subsequently declined to reiterate the prediction in a conference call, prompting the SEC to ask in a May 7 letter if the deal was threatened.
The insurer said it based its original timetable on a review of other requests for bank deals. After the process took longer than expected, the company concluded it is “no longer appropriate for it to specify the timing for obtaining the requisite regulatory approvals,” Chief Counsel Matthew Ricciardi said in the May 21 letter.
The SEC said May 30 that it finished its review. Such correspondence is typically made public less than two months after the completion of a review.
MetLife, the largest U.S. life insurer, said in December that it agreed to sell about $7.5 billion in deposits to Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE. The FDIC doesn’t comment on pending applications, according to David Barr, a spokesman.
“We are working with the regulator and waiting for approval,” said Russell Wilkerson, a GE spokesman, in an e-mail. MetLife’s Christopher Breslin said his firm is also awaiting permission, and declined to comment on the correspondence.