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Matheson advises on “historic” Irish Life sale

AUTHOR(S): Tim Scanlon
PRACTICE AREA GROUP: Financial Institutions
DATE: 20.02.2013

Matheson, the law firm, has further cemented its reputation as the advisor of choice on the most significant corporate transactions in Ireland for its role in the sale of the country's biggest life and pensions provider, Irish Life.

The Financial Institutions Group at Matheson, led by partner Tim Scanlon, advised Ireland’s Minister for Finance on the €1.3 billion sale of the State-owned insurer to Canada Life parent, Great-West Lifeco, which was announced on 19 February. The sale, which has been described as a "historic transaction" by the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, demonstrates increasing confidence among international investors about investing in Ireland.

Under the terms of the deal, the life and pensions operations of Irish Life and Canada Life in Ireland will come together as one combined business, which will operate under the Irish Life brand name.

Established in 1939, Irish Life is Ireland's biggest life and pensions provider. It manages approximately one million policies, with over €37 billion of assets under management and employs 2,200 people in Ireland.

Great-West Life is a leading Canadian insurer, with interests in the life and health insurance, investment, savings and retirement income and reinsurance businesses, primarily in Canada and Europe.

Matheson previously advised the Minister of Finance on the initial auction process for the sale of Irish Life in and its subsequent acquisition by the State from the Irish Life and Permanent Group in June 2012.

Other major recent Irish corporate transactions on which Matheson has advised include Eaton Corporation PLC's $11.8 billion acquisition of Cooper Industries, the largest single M&A transaction in Ireland in 2012, and the $550 million sale of Goldman Sachs Administration Services to State Street Corporation.

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