MetLife agrees Versant Health takeover

New York-listed MetLife has signed on the dotted line to pick up Versant Health, a provider of vision care benefits services.

The acquiror believes the move will reinforce its range of vision benefit offerings, while giving it access to the target’s 35.00 million-strong membership base, thereby establishing it as the US’s third-largest vision insurer by membership.

Chief executive Michel Khalaf said it will accelerate revenue growth while generating value for both customers and shareholders.

Under the terms of the transaction, MetLife will pay around USD 1.68 billion in cash for Versant, which is currently owned by an investor group led by Centerbridge Partners and which also includes FFL Partners.

Ramy Tadros, the buyer’s president of US business, stated: “The addition of the strong Davis Vision and Superior Vision brands will immediately establish MetLife as a leader in managed vision care.”

Completion remains subject to the green light from regulators and is slated to follow in the final quarter of 2020.

According to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, this is MetLife’s first acquisition of 2020, although it is no stranger to the process, having announced two purchases in 2019.

The first of these was signed off in November, when the company agreed to pick up Miami-based online testament document management platform operator Bequest.

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This was followed by an agreement to purchase Petfirst Healthcare, an Indiana-headquartered pet health insurance administration player, in December of that year.

No financial details of either transaction were disclosed.

Versant is not the first provider of optometry services to have been targeted in 2020; according to Zephyr, 11 such deals have been signed off globally since the beginning of January.

Those to have been targeted include National Vision Holdings, which received a USD 17.02 million injection from Select Equity Group in what was the sector’s largest transaction of the year so far, prior to MetLife’s announcement of the Versant acquisition.

© Zephus Ltd

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