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MetLife Joins Norway Fund in $561 Million Boston Deal

July 28 (Bloomberg) -- MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, added another Boston office tower to its real estate partnership with Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund, expanding their joint venture to about $2.4 billion.

MetLife and Norges Bank Investment Management acquired the One Beacon Street building for about $561 million, the New York-based company said today in a statement. The insurer will own 52.5 percent of the 34-story tower, with Norges Bank controlling the rest.

The collaboration on U.S. property bets began in December, as the Norwegian fund sought to diversify its holdings. MetLife has been working to attract institutional investors to a new asset-management unit to build fee income.

“Our partnership with the world’s largest sovereign-wealth fund is built on a strategy of providing first-rate asset management and of investing for the long-term,” Robert Merck, global head of real estate investments at MetLife, said in the statement. “One Beacon Street in Boston adds a high-quality asset in a core market to our joint portfolio.”

The property was acquired from a venture of Beacon Capital Partners and Munich-based insurer Allianz SE, according to the statement. The tower changed hands for $423 million in 2006, according to data compiled by PropertyShark, and Allianz acquired a 50 percent stake from Beacon Capital in 2009, according to a statement at the time that didn’t disclose terms.

The Norway fund manages more than $800 billion, mostly in stocks and bonds. MetLife and Norges Bank also jointly own Boston’s One Financial Center and buildings in Washington and San Francisco. Tenants in the One Beacon Street tower include JPMorgan Chase & Co., the University of Massachusetts, and a unit of Standard Life Plc, MetLife said.

MetLife slipped 8 cents to $54.67 at 9:32 a.m. in New York. The insurer has gained 1.4 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zachary Tracer in New York at ztracer1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net Steven Crabill

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