NEW YORK (AP) _ MetLife Inc., the nation's second-largest life insurer, raised $2.88 billion after pricing its initial public offering as the company converts to a public company from one owned by policyholders.

MetLife sold 202 million shares Tuesday at $14.25 apiece. The shares had been expected to price between $13 and $15 each.

MetLife stock will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MET.

The IPO was scaled back considerably from the company's original plans. In November, MetLife estimated it would raise as much as $6 billion by selling 255 million shares for $14 to $24 each.

That would have made it the largest domestic IPO ever, surpassing the $5.47 billion raised in November by United Parcel Service.

The company scaled back its plans last month, however, after insurance stocks, along with other ``Old Economy'' blue chips had subpar performances during the first couple of months of 2000.

MetLife made up part of the difference by selling another 30 million shares, at the $14.25 offering price, in a private placement with Credit Suisse First Boston and Banco Santander Central Hispano SA. That transaction raised $427 million.

The New York-based insurer also sold $875 million in convertible bonds. Those securities, priced at $50 a share, will also trade on the NYSE under the symbol MIU.

Some of the cash raised from the IPO will be used to pay policyholders who are collectively eligible to receive 4.9 million shares, unless they chose to cash out their holdings.

MetLife's conversion to a publicly traded company will be effective Friday. At that time, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of MetLife Inc., which will have about 9 million shareholders.