The Hague and New York — AEGON and Merrill Lynch announced they will form a strategic business relationship in the areas of insurance and investment products. As part of this relationship, an AEGON company has signed an agreement to acquire Merrill Lynch Life Insurance Co. and ML Life Insurance Co. of New York for U.S. $1.3 billion in cash. The purchase price includes excess surplus of approximately $425 million. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the fourth quarter of 2007, subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

Merrill Lynch says it will continue to serve the insurance needs of its clients through its core distribution and advisory capabilities, as well as offer its Merrill Lynch Investor Choice Annuity product through its financial advisor network. Products will be issued by the companies AEGON is acquiring. Merrill Lynch also notes that both companies anticipate substantial benefits for clients arising from this partnership including increased breadth of product offerings and enhancements to existing products.

AEGON's Transamerica companies will provide support to the Merrill Lynch financial advisor network.

Source: Merrill Lynch

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