Chinese conglomerate Fosun International (00656.HK) is buying German private bank Hauck & Aufhauser for US$233 million, a deal that is awaiting German regulatory approval, the Wall Street Journal reported.
It is also attempting to buy half of Belgium’s BHF Kleinwort Benson Group, which will give it a German private bank as well as British private bank Kleinwort Benson, the newspaper said.
Fosun currently owns a small stake in BHF Kleinwort Benson.
Over the past 12 months, the group has acquired US$8 billion of insurers and other financial firms, expensive real estate and brands like Cirque du Soleil and Silver Cross, according to Dealogic.
Chief executive Liang Xinjun said the group plans to buy more assets that cater to China’s rich and wealthy people across Europe and Japan.
“We see that a lot of China’s middle class are looking for investments overseas and if we have private banks, we can offer wealthy Chinese families living in China direct access to personalized financial products that invest in overseas markets,” Liang told the newspaper in an interview.
He said the group could also offer “Chinese investment products” to the existing clients of the European private banks.
Fosun has set aside a budget of US$1 billion to US$1.5 billion for each financial firm it is planning to buy.
Apart from cash and bank loans, Fosun uses the premiums it gets from the insurance companies it has acquired in recent years as cheap and long-term investing capital, a model championed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
“We think assets in our asset-management business, which include private banking, could reach US$100 billion in the next few years from around US$7.8 billion at present, through acquisitions and organic growth,” Liang said.
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