Harbinger Deal For Old Mutual Life Insurer Delayed

Dec 16 2010 | 1:12am ET

Money problems are holding up Harbinger Capital Management's $350 million deal for Old Mutual's U.S. life insurance unit.

The New York-based hedge fund, whose founder has found himself forced to borrow money on at least three separate occasions over the last 14 months, including once from Harbinger, needed more time to get financing, Old Mutual said. The Anglo-South African firm said the deal would close next quarter, rather than this one, and that the price has not changed.

Harbinger itself needed a $400 million loan this summer, backed by the hedge fund's assets. Falcone originally planned to have his new permanent-capital vehicle, Harbinger Group, buy the Old Mutual business, but changed those plans in October.

Harbinger and Old Mutual are also still in talks with state regulators in the U.S. to get the approvals necessary for the sale.

"We expect these discussions will take some weeks to conclude and, as a result, closing is now expected during the first quarter of 2011," Old Mutual said.

Harbinger struck its deal for the life insurance unit in August. The hedge fund has named Leland Launer, the former chief investment officer at MetLife, the company's chairman and CEO.

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