The insurance giant MetLife is buying Travelers Life & Annuity for at least $11. 5 billion from Citigroup, the nation's largest financial...

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NEW YORK — The insurance giant MetLife is buying Travelers Life & Annuity for at least $11.5 billion from Citigroup, the nation’s largest financial institution.

The two companies, both based in New York, said in a statement yesterday that the deal will make MetLife “the largest individual life insurer in North America, based on sales.”

In addition to buying Travelers Life, MetLife is acquiring almost all of Citi’s international insurance business, the companies said.

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The deal has been approved by both companies’ boards and is expected to close in the summer, the statement said. It said the price was “subject to closing adjustments.”

MetLife shares fell 19 cents to close at $39.75 yesterday. Citigroup shares rose 67 cents to close at $49.05 yesterday.

Citigroup had retained Travelers Life & Annuity in 2002 when it spun off Travelers Property Casualty in a $5 billion initial public offering. Travelers Property merged with St. Paul Cos. in 2003 to create the St. Paul Travelers, based in St. Paul, Minn.

Martha Butler, an analyst with Fitch Ratings in Chicago, said that the agency affirmed MetLife’s long-term insurer rating because “this gives them more scale, better distribution channels.” She added: “They were probably attracted to [Citi’s] international business as well.”