MetLife debuts on Wall Street

MetLife IPO

Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (NYSE: MET)

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Opening price: $14.25

Closed at $15 on April 5,
its first day of trading

Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. made its Wall Street debut April 5, raising $2.9 billion in its initial public offering (IPO).

The New York-based life insurance company, which trades under the symbol MET, sold 202 million shares to the general public and issued 493 million shares to its policyholders. It also sold 73 million shares to two institutional investors, Credit Suisse First Boston and Banco Santander Central Hispano. The lead underwriters of the stock, Credit Suisse First Boston and Goldman, Sachs & Co. have an option to purchase an additional 30.3 million shares.

The IPO completes MetLife's demutualization, which is the process of converting from a mutual company owned by policyholders to a public company owned by stockholders.

In March filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, MetLife changed the estimated share price from $14 and $24 a share to $14.25 a share and also reduced the number of shares it planned to sell to the public and issue to policyholders. Analysts blamed the move on the poor reception insurance stocks have received on Wall Street recently.

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