(Bloomberg) -- MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. lifeinsurer, formed a real estate venture with the New York StateCommon Retirement Fund, including an initial investment portfoliovalued at more than $1.4 billion.

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The insurer, which is seeking to expand in asset management,sold a 49.9 percent stake in the properties to the pension fund, the New York-basedcompany said Tuesday in a statement.

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The portfolio, which will be overseen by MetLife’s assetmanager, includes seven properties and represents about 3.7 millionsquare feet (340,000 square meters), primarily office space inmajor U.S. markets.

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Chief Investment Officer Steven Goulart has been bolsteringasset-management operations, which are generally less capitalintensive than life insurance products and help generate feeincome.

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MetLife Investment Management, which has about $20 billion ofcommitments from third-party investors, has been seeking to expandits offerings, pushing into structured finance and high-yield debtto attract clients such as pensions, sovereign wealth funds andother insurers.

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The New York fund and the insurer “share a strategy of investingfor the long term,” Robert Merck, senior managing director and headof global real estate for MetLife, said in the statement, whichdidn’t disclose the locations of the buildings. “We look forward togrowing this equity real estate portfolio with them for many yearsto come.”

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In 2014, the insurer expanded its real estate joint venture withNorway’s sovereign wealth fund, investing in properties in SanFrancisco and Washington.

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