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MassMutual to buy retirement unit

The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Springfield said Tuesday it has reached a deal to buy the retirement plans unit of The Hartford Financial Services Group unit for $400 million.

When completed this year, the acquisition will more than double the size of MassMutual’s retirement plan business, enabling it to administer plans with more than 3 million participants and $120 billion in assets.

“This acquisition represents an important step for MassMutual and underscores our long-standing commitment to the retirement market,’’ said Roger Crandall, MassMutual’s chief executive in a statement.

The Hartford-based company is a prominent provider of small and midsize retirement plans with more than 33,000 plans serving 1.5 million participants and managing $54.9 billion in assets.

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MassMutual handles 7,600 plans with 1.6 million participants and $66.2 billion in assets.

The Hartford said the deal is the second of three divestitures to help it sharpen its focus on insurance underwriting.

The company said it will develop a plan over the next year to integrate the operations, but said it was premature to say whether any workers will be laid off or moved.

MassMutual has about 1,200 employees in its retirement unit and the Hartford has 1,300 in its unit in offices in Hartford, Phoenix, and Boston.

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