China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co. is considering buying a controlling stake in South Korea’s Tong Yang Life Insurance.
This follows reports Anbang has signed a memorandum of understanding to buy out South Korean private equity firm Vogo Investment, which owns 57.5 percent of the country’s eighth largest life insurer, for about 1.1 trillion won (US$1 billion), Reuters reported Friday, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.
Vogo and Anbang declined to comment.
Last year, Anbang was the lone bidder in a South Korean government auction of a 30 percent controlling stake in Woori Bank, worth about US$2.7 billion.
The process collapsed because local rules require at least two bidders.
Anbang has been investing in financial services and real estate around the world. Last year struck a US$1.95 billion deal to buy the landmark Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
Vogo first acquired a stake in Tong Yang Life in 2006 and first began a process to sell the insurer in 2011.
Tong Yang, which had 19.7 trillion won in assets as of the third quarter of 2014, had a 4.8 percent market share in paid premiums compared with 51.2 percent for the country’s biggest three life insurers — Samsung Life , Hanwha Life and Kyobo Life.
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