Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance (MassMutual) has inked a definitive agreement with The Hartford, an insurance and wealth management services provider, to acquire the latter's retirement plans business.

The $400m transaction is expected to complete by the end of 2012, subject to closing adjustments as well as regulatory and other concerned approvals.

Acquisition of the small to mid-sized retirement plan provider is expected to strengthen MassMutual’s position in the segment upon completion of the transaction.

Expressing his views on the transaction, MassMutual chairman, president and CEO Roger Crandall said the acquisition will allow it to offer enhanced capabilities and greater overall value across a broader retirement market.

"This transaction enables us to accelerate growth into new sectors, add complementary distribution capabilities, and nearly double the number of retirement plan participants we serve," Crandall added.

After closing the deal, the acquirer will initiate a plan to consolidate the operation of both firms under the leadership of MassMutual’s retirement services division executive vice president & head and MassMutual International chairman and CEO Elaine Sarsynski.

MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division provides a range of products and services for corporate, union, nonprofit and governmental employers’ defined benefit, defined contribution and nonqualified deferred compensation plans.

Barclays provided financial advice and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom offered legal advice to MassMutual, pertaining to the transaction.