Cigna is in talks with New York Life Insurance Co. to sell off its group benefits insurance business in a deal that could be worth $6 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Sources familiar with the discussions tell the news organization the business line—which includes life, accident and disability-income insurance—has also drawn interest from companies such as MetLife and Sun Life Financial, but New York Life is the front-runner.
The two are aiming to make a final agreement by the end of the year, according to the article.
If the deal with New York Life falls through, Cigna could pivot and negotiate with others waiting in the wings, according to the article.
New York Life’s current group life insurance business is smaller than Cigna’s, and a final deal would elevate it to one of the top five companies in the nation in market share for such benefits, the WSJ reports. When reached by FierceHealthcare, Cigna said it doesn’t comment on “rumors and speculation.”
It was first revealed in August that Cigna was eyeing a buyer for its $6 billion group benefits insurance business as it aims to consolidate its focus on health benefits.
Cigna solidified that focus in its acquisition of Express Scripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager, a $67 billion deal that was finalized a year ago. The insurer has seen a significant financial boost over the past three quarters thanks in large part to the Express Scripts deal.
Reaching a deal to sell its group benefits insurance business could also allow Cigna to pay down some of its debts, which sit at about $39 billion.