The acquisition and bancassurance partnerships will see Prudential enter the Nigerian market for the first time.
Describing the acquisition as "landmark"; Jim Ovia, the founder of Zenith Bank and Zenith Life, said the move is "set to redefine the life insurance industry in Nigeria".
Zenith Life was incorporated in 2001 and is one of the fastest-growing life insurance companies in Nigeria, having increased its gross written premium at a compound annual growth rate of 22% over the last five years, Prudential said.
It will be rebranded as Zenith-Prudential Life Insurance.
The move forms part of Prudential’s commitment to Africa following the launch of businesses in Ghana and Kenya in 2014, Uganda in 2015 and Zambia in 2016.
Ovia said: “Given the combination of Zenith Life’s local presence with one of the world’s oldest and most successful life insurers, we expect Zenith-Prudential Life to act as a significant catalyst within the sector.
“We anticipate creating thousands of employment opportunities in Nigeria by embarking on this transformational deal.”
Matt Lilley, chief executive of Prudential Africa, said: “Prudential’s purpose is to take the worry out of life’s big financial concerns, helping our customers face the future with confidence. [This] announcement is an important milestone for Prudential and our growing portfolio of high-quality life insurance businesses in Africa.
“We are excited by the opportunity of partnering with Zenith Bank, one of the largest and most dynamic banks in Africa, and working with our new colleagues to build Zenith-Prudential into a leader in Nigeria’s growing life insurance industry.”
Zenith Bank provides corporate, business and personal banking products through its network of more than 350 branches, serving over 1.6 million customers.