Bloomberg News

LONDON — General Electric Co.’s finance unit agreed to buy National Mutual Life Assurance Society of the United Kingdom for almost $810 million as it tries to build a retirement savings business in Europe’s second-largest market.

GE Capital Corp. is to buy National Mutual after failing to purchase at least two other U.K. insurers — Scottish Life Assurance Co. and the assets of Equitable Life Assurance Society — in the past 12 months.

Buying National Mutual, which has 250,000 policyholders and $6.8 billion of assets, probably will be the first in a series of acquisitions, said Clive Cowdery, who runs GE Capital’s insurance business in Europe. “This gives us scale to look at larger companies,” Mr. Cowdery said.

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