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MetLife to Acquire Versant Health for $1.7 Billion

Sept. 23, 2020

MetLife Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Versant Health from an investor group led by Centerbridge Partners and including FFL Partners for approximately $1.675 billion in an all-cash transaction, according to a recent announcement reported on by Vision Monday. Versant Health owns the well-established marketplace brands Davis Vision and Superior Vision.

Following the acquisition, MetLife will gain access to Versant Health’s roughly 35 million members, and MetLife’s existing customers will gain access to Versant Health’s extensive provider network, which is one of the largest in the industry.

MetLife has offered group vision insurance since 2012, and with the addition of Versant Health, will serve roughly 38 million members.

This transaction is targeted to close in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, the companies noted.

“This transaction furthers our goal of deploying capital to the highest-value opportunities,” MetLife president and chief executive officer Michel Khalaf said in the announcement. “We are pleased to welcome Versant Health, a well-run and well-respected leader in vision care, to the MetLife family. In Versant, we have found the right strategic fit with our group benefits business. We expect this combination to accelerate revenue growth while delivering greater value for our customers and shareholders.”

With more than 90 percent of employees interested in receiving vision insurance through their employer, MetLife sees significant potential in the U.S. managed vision care market, according to the announcement. The transaction will strengthen and differentiate MetLife’s vision benefit offering with one of the industry’s broadest networks of providers and plan options.

“We are confident this acquisition will make our market-leading group benefits business even more attractive,” said Ramy Tadros, president of U.S. Business for MetLife. “The addition of the strong Davis Vision and Superior Vision brands will immediately establish MetLife as a leader in managed vision care. We look forward to offering our customers the exceptional member experiences that Versant provides.”

MetLife is a market leader in the U.S. Group Benefits space with an estimated market share of 15 percent. MetLife’s Group Benefits business offers over 35 group products and services—the most in the industry—and serves approximately 41 million U.S. employees and their dependents, according to the announcement.

In addition, the transaction will build on MetLife’s recent expansions of its product suite into pet insurance, digital estate planning, and health savings and spending accounts, further strengthening the company’s role as the partner of choice for employers across the country, the announcement noted.

CapM Advisors acted as financial advisor and Sidley Austin LLP served as legal counsel to MetLife in connection with this transaction. Barclays and Centerview Partners LLC acted as financial advisors and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as legal counsel to Versant Health in connection with this transaction.

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