Prudential PLC, seizing on what it expects to be a demographic-driven boom in the U.S. annuity market, established itself as a potential force in the business with one swoop on Monday with a deal to acquire American General Corp.

The deal is structured to give Prudential a slender majority ownership of the combined company. Still, American General, which dwarfs Prudential’s existing U.S. holdings, is expected to be able to keep its way of doing business. That could mean American General’s management will control the business lines that are expected to produce a majority of Prudential’s new business opportunities. P>For Prudential, the move represents an instant way to gain scale and a complementary product line for its U.S. operations, which include Jackson National Life Insurance Co. The combined company would manage $336 billion in assets worldwide, $160 billion of which would be in the U.S. — $40 billion from Jackson National and $120 billion from American General.

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