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NEW YORK-Travelers Group Inc.'s acquisition of investment bank Salomon Inc. may be shaking up Wall Street, but it is unlikely to have any immediate effect on Travelers' insurance operations.
An eventual benefit to the insurance operations, however, could come from ties with Salomon's greater international presence, some analysts say.
Travelers Group and Salomon said last week they have agreed to combine Salomon with Travelers' Smith Barney Holdings Inc. subsidiary to form Salomon Smith Barney Holdings Inc.
Terms of the transaction call for Travelers Group to issue 1.13 shares of its stock for each share of Salomon, for a total value of more than $9 billion.
A spokesman for insurance subsidiary Travelers Property Casualty Corp. said the deal will not impact insurance operations.
The advantages of the deal are to Travelers' securities business, not its insurance operations, market observers agree.
"I would hope that these are totally separate decision-making entities and that one would not really have any relationship to the other," said David Seifer, an analyst with Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette Securities Corp. in New York.
"I think each of their operations has to stand on its own and compete against the other operations as to what is the most attractive opportunities for capital allocation," said Mr. Seifer.
Mr. Seifer also said he does not think the Salomon deal is likely to discourage or delay Travelers from making any additional insurance acquisitions.
"I think this group will make every attractive acquisition they can find," said Mr. Seifer.
"Clearly, it shifts the balance of earnings in the total organization, with securities and investment banking-related operations increasing to close to 50% of consolidated corporate earnings up from a third on a pro forma basis," said Alan Murray, vp with rating agency Moody's Investors Services Inc. in New York.
"So clearly, insurance operations. . .become a slightly smaller piece of the pie," with property/casualty operations expected to account for "just under 30%" of Travelers Group's earnings and the life business in the "low 20s" on a pro forma basis, said Mr. Murray.
"The Travelers name has a strong franchise value in the insurance business and is much stronger, obviously, in the insurance business than on the securities side," where the Smith Barney and now the Salomon names will be used, Mr. Murray said.
"We would expect Travelers Group to maintain its strong commitment to the insurance business," he said. He noted Travelers' insurance operations are expected to generate a strong performance of $1.6 to $1.8 billion in net income this year.
"It remains an important part of the combined earnings of the Travelers Group," said Mr. Murray, adding that both segments of its insurance business may well continue to grow both internally and through acquisition.
"'That said, I think it's fair to say there don't appear to be any immediate benefits from the Salomon acquisition to either the life or the property/casualty operations," Mr. Murray added.
Others agree the Salomon acquisition will not affect the Travelers Group's strategy for its insurance operations.
"I would not see this acquisition as an indication they will be reducing their emphasis on the insurance operation at all," said John L. Ward, CEO of the Cincinnati-based Ward Financial Group.
"I see it as just another step in their strategy to build a diversified financial enterprise, and I see it as complementary and another step in that direction, rather than a shift in emphasis," said Mr. Ward.
"I don't think it will do a whole lot" for the insurance operations in the short term, said Gloria Vogel, senior vp with Advest Inc. in New York. However, she added, the acquisition could have some long-term benefits.
Salomon has strong international operations, while Travelers Group has been weak in this area, both in its stock brokerage business and in its insurance operations, said Ms. Vogel.
The Salomon acquisition may give the company an entree into international financial services, with a stronger international insurance operation a "natural extension" of that, said Ms. Vogel. "But that would be a long way down the road."
Potentially, the Salomon acquisition could enhance the company's name recognition internationally, agreed Mr. Murray of Moody's. Given that Travelers uses its umbrella logo for all its subsidiary operations, it could lead to an "increased market awareness through the Salomon-Smith Barney overseas operation of Travelers as a major provider of diversified financial and insurance services," Mr. Murray said.