Larger insurer to buy Jefferson-Pilot

Lincoln National Corp. has announced plans to acquire Jefferson-Pilot Corp., whose Concord-based Jefferson Pilot Financial Insurance is one of the 60 largest private employers in the state.

The Philadelphia-based Lincoln National said Monday it will acquire Jefferson-Pilot for about $7.5 billion in cash and stock creating one of the largest publicly traded life insurance companies in the United States.

The buyer, which will retain the Lincoln National and Lincoln Financial Group names, will be the nation’s largest seller of universal life insurance products and a leader in group disability insurance and retirement plan assets, the companies said.

Jon Boscia, Lincoln National’s chief executive officer and chairman, who will hold the same role at the combined companies, called the two firms “a perfect fit.”

“I know you hear this all time, but in this case, it’s really true,” Boscia said.

Executives predicted annual cost savings of about $180 million after the two companies are combined. Lincoln National has annual sales of $5.4 billion, while Jefferson-Pilot has annual sales of $4.1 billion.

The deal would combine Lincoln’s strengths in life and annuities products with Jefferson-Pilot’s sizable presence in fixed and variable universal life and fixed annuities, including equity-indexed annuities and other insurance, the companies said.

Lincoln National currently has about 5,200 employees and Jefferson-Pilot has 4,400 employees. But Jefferson-Pilot spokesman Paul Mason said the merger could bring more jobs to Greensboro, the central North Carolina city that will become the “center of operations” for the company’s life insurance business.

The Concord office, which employs about 660 people, according to New Hampshire Business Review’s 2005 Book of Lists, will remain a “significant operation” a company spokesman said.

The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2006 after shareholder and regulatory approval. – NHBR STAFF REPORT

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