June 27 (Reuters) - Insurer Hartford Financial Services
Group will sell its UK variable annuity business to a
unit of Berkshire Hathaway for about $258
million as it looks to pay down debt and focus on its property
and casualty business.
The sale of Hartford Life International Ltd to Berkshire
unit Columbia Insurance Co is expected to result in an after-tax
loss of about $110 million in the second quarter, Hartford said
in a statement.
Hartford has been selling assets after coming under pressure
from shareholders including hedge fund manager John Paulson who
screamed at management on an earnings call last year to do
something "drastic" to boost the company's industry-low
The company has so far sold its individual life insurance,
broker-dealer and retirement plan businesses.
On Wednesday, Hartford increased the size of its share
buyback by $750 million to $1.25 billion.
The sale of the UK unit is expected to close by the end of
the year. Deutsche Bank is Hartford's financial adviser and
Sidley Austin LLP the legal adviser.
Hartford shares, which have risen 7 percent since it
reported first-quarter results at the end of April, closed at
$29.99 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. Berkshire
class B shares closed at $112.91.