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Allstate Said to Seek Buyers for Lincoln Benefit Business

Allstate Corp., the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer, is seeking potential buyers for its Lincoln Benefit Life Co. subsidiary, three people familiar with the matter said.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was engaged by Northbrook, Illinois-based Allstate to solicit offers for Lincoln, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

Insurers have sought to sell life and annuities assets as low interest rates pressure returns. Axa SA agreed this month to sell a U.S. life unit to Protective Life Corp. as part of a $1.06 billion transaction. Sun Life Financial Inc. announced a deal in December to sell its U.S. annuity business for $1.35 billion.

Lincoln Benefit became a subsidiary of Allstate’s life-insurance company in 1984 and offers whole, term, and universal coverage, according to its website. It had $2 billion in assets and $321.4 million in surplus, a measure of assets minus liabilities, at the end of 2012, according to a filing with state regulators. It generated $46.7 million in cash from operations and $54.5 million from investments last year, the filing shows.

Maryellen Thielen, a spokeswoman for Allstate, said the insurer doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation. Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, declined to comment.

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