Businessman Ian Cumming appears to be following through with his intention to liquidate assets of his Leucadia National Corp.

Allstate Corp. announced Tuesday it had agreed to buy the two life insurance subsidiaries of Leucadia National Corp. Allstate is buying Charter National Life Insurance Co. and the Intramerica Life Insurance Co. to expand its sales of retirement saving plans. The pair of companies took in about $50 million in premiums for stock-linked retirement plans known as variable annuities last year, according to A.M. Best Co.Leucadia's corporate offices are in New York City, but its executive offices have been located in Salt Lake City.

Leucadia's Chairman Cumming, who for two decades found low-cost companies to buy and then sell at a profit, said seven months ago a lack of opportunities could cause him to dissolve the business. A company spokeswoman also confirmed in August that Cumming and his wife, Annette, would move their primary residence from Utah to Jackson, Wyo. Cumming has since resigned from the Utah Board of Regents.

Last year, Leucadia sold its Colonial Penn Life Insurance Co. and Providential Life Insurance Co. to Carmel, Indiana-based Conseco Inc. for $460 million. Also last year, it sold Colonial Penn Insurance Co., a direct marketer of auto insurance, to General Electric Capital Corp., a unit of General Electric Co.

Whether more liquidations are on the way remains to be seen. As is standard practice, Cumming's office refused comment Tuesday morning. Phone calls to the New York office were not returned.

Terms of the Allstate transaction, expected to close in next year's second quarter, were undisclosed. New York-based Leucadia said it expects a pretax gain of about $20 million on the sale.

"It's part of Allstate's strategy to expand its presence in the variable annuity market," said Pamela Tvrdy, a spokeswoman for the Northbrook, Ill., insurer.

Variable annuities, which benefit from rallying stocks, pay income until policyholders die. They have become the fastest-growing life insurance offering as more Americans plan for the possibility of outliving their retirement nest eggs.

Allstate, with 1997 assets of $27.5 billion, ranked 23rd among U.S. life insurers and had $1.9 billion of variable annuity sales last year, according to the Variable Annuity Research and Data Service of Marietta, Georgia.

The transaction is the second in recent months between Allstate and Leucadia, which has invested in businesses as varied as bottling PepsiCo drinks and making plastic netting.

In September, Allstate reinsured life insurance and variable annuity business of Charter National with total reserves of $560 million. Deferred gains from that transaction account for most of the $20 million gain Leucadia today said it expects to record with the sale.

Deseret News Associate Business Editor Joel Campbell contributed to this report.