Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

American Heritage Acquisition Insurer to Buy Columbia Universal for $44 Million

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

American Heritage Acquisition Insurer to Buy Columbia Universal for $44 Million

Article excerpt

After several years of actively searching for a suitable

acquisition, American Heritage Life Investment Corp. yesterday

said it has agreed to buy Columbia Universal Life Insurance Co.

for $44 million in cash.

Austin, Texas-based Columbia Universal has $365 million in

assets, or about one-quarter the size of American Heritage,

which boasts assets of $1.4 billion.

The deal, subject to approval of Columbia Universal's

shareholders and regulators, is expected to be completed early

next year. Among Columbia Universal's 279 shareholders are two

well-known names: actor Kirk Douglas and race car driver A.J.

Foyt.

American Heritage officials called the proposed acquisition "an

outstanding strategic fit" because Columbia Universal offers

American Heritage an additional avenue for selling life

insurance products.

American Heritage primarily sells most of its policies through

payroll deduction, while Columbia Universal sells most of its

insurance directly to individuals through sales agents.

"The products and distribution channels of American Heritage

Life and Columbia Universal complement each other perfectly,

which will benefit our policyholders and agents," said T. O'Neal

Douglas, American Heritage's chairman and chief executive.

Also, Columbia Universal is an active seller of tax-exempt

annuities, a business line American Heritage has been eyeing.

While American Heritage has purchased numerous "blocks" of

insurance policies from other insurers over the years, this

represents the first acquisition of an entire company since the

purchase of Acme United Life Insurance Co. of Georgia in 1960.

The proposed acquisition was announced after the stock market

closed. American Heritage's stock closed yesterday at a 52-week

high of 25 1/8, up 1/2 from the previous day's close. …

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