Business

MetLife is one step closer to spinning off its Charlotte operations

Charlotte-based Eric Steigerwalt, CEO of Brighthouse Financial, shown in a 2015 file photo. Insurer MetLife announced Thursday final regulatory approval for plans to spin off Brighthouse as an independent, publicly traded company.
Charlotte-based Eric Steigerwalt, CEO of Brighthouse Financial, shown in a 2015 file photo. Insurer MetLife announced Thursday final regulatory approval for plans to spin off Brighthouse as an independent, publicly traded company. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

MetLife has received final regulatory approval in its efforts to spin off a large portion of the insurer’s Charlotte-based U.S. retail business, a move that now paves the way for the separated operation to begin public trading.

The New York-based insurer announced on Thursday approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission, and said shares of the spun-off company, Brighthouse Financial, will start regular trading Aug. 7 on Nasdaq. Other regulators and MetLife’s board had already approved the deal.

The spinoff will affect Charlotte, where MetLife employs about 1,500 people in two office towers in Ballantyne Corporate Park. MetLife announced plans to separate the retail business in January 2016, as the company looked to decrease its size and limit federal capital requirements.

MetLife has said it intends to keep the separated company headquartered in Charlotte, which it picked in 2013 to consolidate its U.S. retail operations in exchange for state and local incentives.

Brighthouse and MetLife will split into two independent publicly traded companies – with MetLife continuing to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under its MET symbol and Brighthouse trading as BHF on Nasdaq.

Brighthouse said it plans to ring Nasdaq’s opening bell in New York on Aug. 7.

In March, Brighthouse began doing business under its own name. Charlotte-based Eric Steigerwalt, currently CEO of Brighthouse, is expected to continue in that role once the spinoff is complete.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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