MetLife Approves $3B Share Buyback Plan; Street Stays Bullish

MetLife announced a new share buyback program worth $3 billion. The leading financial services provider also said that it has completed repurchases under its previous repurchase authorization.

Metlife’s (MET) CEO Michel Khalaf said, “This new authorization highlights our continuing confidence in our financial strength and flexibility.”

Khalaf added, “Despite a challenging 2020, we expect by year-end to have invested about $3 billion to support new business growth at attractive returns and payback periods, deployed nearly $1.7 billion to growth-oriented and accretive M&A, and returned at least $2.6 billion to shareholders through common stock dividends and repurchases while maintaining a liquidity buffer well in excess of the $3-4 billion target.”

Concurrently, the company agreed to divest its Metropolitan Property and Casualty (P&C) Insurance unit to a subsidiary of the Zurich Insurance Group. The all-cash $3.94 billion deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. (See MET stock analysis on TipRanks)

On Dec. 11, Wells Fargo analyst Elyse Greenspan raised her price target to $53 (12.3% upside potential) from $51 and maintained a Buy rating on the stock, following the sale of the P&C business. The analyst said, “We view the P&C sale favorably and came away incrementally more positive on the shares.” 

Meanwhile, the Street has a bullish outlook on the stock. The Strong Buy analyst consensus is based on 7 Buys and 2 Holds. The average price target stands at $52 and implies upside potential of about 10.2% to current levels. Shares are down by about 7.4% year-to-date.

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