A unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc has won the auction for UK-based Paternoster
, the specialist pensions business, for an undisclosed sum.

A majority of shareholders has agreed to sell their stake to Rothesay, a UK-based Goldman unit, subject to regulatory approval and other conditions, Paternoster said in a statement late on Friday.

Paternoster, set up by former Prudential Plc
executive Mark Wood, had originally been expected to fetch up to 300 million pounds ($474.4 million), The Financial Times reported. The final deal, however, was valued at less than that, the FT said.

The Board of Paternoster believes that this transaction would create an excellent combination to exploit the opportunities in the growing Bulk Annuity market and enhance the long term security of its policyholders, Paternoster said in a statement on its website.

Paternoster was put up for sale by its original backers, including Deutsche Bank , several months ago.

Earlier this year, Paternoster helped Deutsche Bank execute the largest-ever longevity insurance transaction when it helped BMW hedge its longevity risk for its UK operations pension scheme.

The London-based company had assets of 3.3 billion euros ($4.36 billion) at the end of last year. It specializes in taking on the risks associated with companies' pension schemes and assumes responsibility for paying their pensioners in the future.

(Reporting by Matthew Lewis, editing by Vicki Allen)