The acquisition price is a 50% premium to StanCorp’s share price as of the close of business on 23 July 2015. The total transaction value is approximately $5bn.

The Standard will become Meiji Yasuda’s primary US presence and partner, operating under The Standard brand within Meiji Yasuda’s global structure.

No changes to The Standard’s current operations are anticipated. The Standard’s chairman, president and CEO Greg Ness, and the current management team will continue to lead the business from The Standard’s headquarters in Portland.

Meiji Yasuda president Akio Negishi said: "We are very pleased to welcome The Standard to the Meiji Yasuda family and to make them a key pillar of our international operations. We have been studying opportunities in the U.S. market for some time and The Standard stood out as our ideal partner."

StanCorp chairman, president and chief executive officer Greg Ness said, "This transaction is an exciting milestone for The Standard and a testament to the strength of our team, financial performance, differentiated customer service and respected brand.

"While we were not looking for a buyer, Meiji Yasuda’s proposal presented a tremendous opportunity to create value for all of our stakeholders – providing a substantial cash premium to our shareholders while enabling us to maintain our current operations and valued employees."

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and expected to close in Q1 2016.

Established in 1881, Meiji Yasuda is the oldest and third largest life insurance company in Japan.

With over 40,000 employees and 6.5 million customers, Meiji Yasuda specializes in group and individual life insurance, bancassurance and group annuity products.

Founded in 1906 in Oregon, The Standard is a provider of insurance, retirement and investment products and services.