Assicurazioni Generali SpA’s talks over the purchase of MetLife Inc.’s European assets have stalled over price, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Italian insurer was preparing to make a formal offer for most of the U.S. company’s business in the region by the end of the year but talks hit a snag because the likely offer was far lower than MetLife expected, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Spokesmen for Generali and MetLife declined to comment.

Talks between the two companies began earlier in the year and reached a stage where Generali was working on presenting a formal bid in 2019, Bloomberg reported. The businesses, concentrated in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, may be worth more than 2 billion euros ($2.24 billion), people familiar with the matter have said.

Expansion is one of the pillars of Chief Executive Officer Philippe Donnet’s strategy as deals reshape the insurance industry. Generali has said that it’s willing to consider acquisitions to enter new countries as one of the top-five players in that market and had signaled that it was interested in pursuing opportunities in central and eastern Europe.

(Adds MetLife’s decline to comment in third paragraph.)

–With assistance from Lananh Nguyen.