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Tata Sons, AIA Group eye acquisition of PNB MetLife

Indian conglomerate Tata Sons Ltd. and partner AIA Group Ltd. are looking to acquire a 70% stake in PNB MetLife India Insurance Co. Ltd. and then merge the company with their joint venture Tata AIA Life Insurance Co. Ltd., The Hindu reported Dec. 22, citing minutes of a Tata Sons' board meeting.

The idea was floated by Ishaat Hussain, a member of Tata Sons' board and chairman of Tata AIA Life, during an Oct. 24 meeting. As part of the proposal, Tata Sons and AIA will acquire a 70% stake in PNB MetLife held by shareholders other than Punjab National Bank and then proceed with a merger of PNB MetLife and Tata AIA Life.

PNB MetLife's shareholders are Punjab National Bank, MetLife Inc., Elpro International, M Paloonji & Co. and Jammu & Kashmir Bank Ltd. Punjab National Bank owns a 30% stake in PNB MetLife.

Following the acquisition of a majority stake in PNB MetLife, Punjab National Bank will either sell its stake in the merged entity through a put option within three years or Tata Sons and AIA would exercise a call option in four to five years post merger, the newspaper reported.

Tata Sons' stake in Tata AIA Life is expected to dilute to 45% from 51% if the proposed deal goes through.

A Tata AIA spokesperson did not comment on the matter. Mail sent to a PNB MetLife spokesperson for comments failed to elicit any response.