Assicurazioni Generali SpA is preparing to make a formal bid for the European assets of MetLife Inc. following months of talks, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Italian insurer has been finishing due diligence and aims to make an offer for most of MetLife’s business on the continent by the end of the year, according to the people. A deal could be valued at about 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion), one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Philippe Donnet, chief executive officer of Assicurazioni Generali SpA. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

No final agreements have been reached, and discussions could still fail to produce a result. Representatives for Generali and MetLife declined to comment.

“External growth in central and eastern Europe makes perfect sense, as the region is the jewel in Generali’s crown,” said Gianluca Ferrari an analyst at Mediobanca SpA. “We believe Generali has plenty of internal resources to finance a potential deal of this magnitude.”

Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Generali was in early stage talks to buy the central and eastern European assets of MetLife for more than 2 billion euros as part of its plans to expand through acquisitions.

Expansion is one of the pillars of Chief Executive Officer Philippe Donnet’s strategy as dealmaking reshapes the insurance industry.

Poland is one of MetLife’s largest operations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, according to a company filing. In 2012, MetLife agreed to buy life insurance businesses from Aviva Plc in the Czech Republic and Hungary, as well as Aviva’s life insurance and pension operations in Romania.

Generali rose 0.5% to 18.75 euros in Milan trading as of 9:27 a.m., giving the insurer a market value of 29.4 billion euros.

(Updates with analyst comment in fourth paragraph, shares in last.)

–With assistance from Lananh Nguyen.

Topics Europe