Manulife to acquire Canadian operations of Standard Life

$4 billion deal deepens insurer’s Quebec presence and expands investment capabilities globally

By IE Staff | 

Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC) Wednesday evening announced that its subsidiary, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (MLI), and Standard Life Oversea Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of Standard Life plc, have entered into an agreement under which MLI will acquire the Canadian-based operations of Standard Life plc for approximately $4 billion in cash at closing, subject to certain adjustments.

“Several months ago, Standard Life decided to explore the sale of its Canadian operations through a competitive process,” said Donald Guloien, president and CEO, Manulife, in a release. “We are delighted to be named the successful bidder.”

Manulife says the transaction significantly builds its capability to serve customers in Canada and elsewhere in the world.

Standard Life’s Canadian operations include group benefits, group retirement, asset management, investment risk oversight and liability-driven investing.

With respect to Standard Life’s operations in Quebec, Guloien said “One of the key reasons we were interested in this company is its people in Quebec: we want to increase our presence in the province and use the very talented employee base to grow and expand our business in Quebec, throughout Canada and indeed the world.”

Manulife says it is committed to Montreal as an international financial centre, and that there will be no significant immediate job losses.

The integration is expected to take between 18 and 24 months, and the vast majority of jobs in Quebec will be retained.

Standard Life is now the fifth largest life insurer in Canada, and has 2,000 employees and 1.4 million customers and $52 billion of assets under management.

In a related move, Quebec pension giant La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announced a $500 million equity investment in Manulife to contribute to the financing of the Standard Life acquisition.

The investment brings the Caisse’s interest in Manulife to more than $1 billion, making it one of the largest shareholders in the company.

Before the announcement, Manulife shares closed Wednesday at $22.36, up 19 cents.