Hartford Mayor Moves to Block MetLife-Travelers Merger

June 2, 2005

Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez has asked the state insurance commissioner to block a planned merger of MetLife Inc. and Travelers Life & Annuity.

Perez said MetLife has not offered a formal commitment to retain jobs and continue Travelers’ philanthropy. He said the city has received no details of the merger aside from what he called “a vague promise of keeping a certain number of jobs in Hartford for one year.”

John Calagna, a MetLife spokesman, said the New York-based company will address Perez’s concerns in a filing with the state insurance department next week.

“We’ve had an ongoing dialogue with the mayor and we look forward to continuing discussions with him,” Calagna said.

Insurance Commissioner Susan Cogswell would not comment on whether she planned to block the merger. She said the agency will review the deal at a hearing next Tuesday. After the hearing, a department official will make a recommendation and Cogswell will have 30 days to issue a decision.

MetLife and Citigroup Inc. announced in January an agreement for the sale of Citigroup’s Hartford-based Travelers Life & Annuity division and substantially all of Citigroup’s international insurance businesses for $11.5 billion.

In April, under pressure from Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Hartford officials, MetLife agreed to scale back proposed job cuts.

MetLife initially said it would eliminate 600 jobs and relocate an additional 100. It later said the cuts would amount to 390, with another 100 jobs to be relocated.

Overall, 1,310 of 1,800 jobs would remain in Hartford for at least one year beginning July 1, when the MetLife-Travelers deal is expected to close.

Tuesday was the last day the city of Hartford could apply to intervene in the merger proceedings. City officials filed an application.

“We’ve been pushed into a corner,” Perez said. “If we don’t act now, we’re stuck with a deal we know very little about.”

Cogswell can block a merger if it is considered to not be in the public interest.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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