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Nippon Life in talks to buy unit of MassMutual

Reuters TOKYO (Reuters) — Japan’s biggest private-sector life insurer, Nippon Life Insurance Co., is in talks to buy a majority stake in U.S.-based MassMutual Financial Group’s Japan unit, two people with knowledge of the negotiations said on Thursday.

The move comes just a week after Reuters reported Nippon Life was in talks to buy into another U.S. firm, investment company TCW Group.

The Nikkei business daily, which first reported the talks, said Nippon Life was likely to pay ¥100 billion to ¥200 billion ($887 million to $1.77 billion) for the stake.

Officials at Nippon Life and MassMutual Life Insurance Co, the local unit, said nothing had been decided and declined further comment.

Nippon Life and rival Japanese insurers have been hit by diminishing returns from investment in Japanese government bonds and other securities amid the Bank of Japan’s massive stimulus measures, prompting them to seek riskier but higher-yield assets.

In an interview earlier this year, Nippon Life President Yoshinobu Tsutsui said his company was looking for acquisition opportunities for overseas asset management companies and life insurers.

In October last year, Nippon Life completed the acquisition of an 80 percent stake in National Australia Bank Ltd’s life insurance unit for A$2.2 billion ($1.72 billion).Speech

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