China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. has won approval from a US national security panel to buy US annuities and life insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life, Reuters reports.
Fidelity & Guaranty said in a filing Tuesday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) had looked at the deal and found no unresolved national security concerns.
Anbang, which is looking to buy US hotel operator Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc., said in November it would buy Fidelity & Guaranty for about US$1.57 billion.
The deal would make Anbang one of the largest insurers by market share in fixed-indexed annuity products in the United States.
Winning approval from the CFIUS, a panel of 16 federal agencies, was harder than expected, because US officials were concerned about the vast amount of customer health and financial information that insurance companies have access to, a source close to the deal told Reuters.
On Monday, Anbang offered to buy Starwood for US$12.8 billion, beating an offer made by Marriott International Inc.
That bid came just days after Anbang made a non-binding bid for Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. from buyout firm Blackstone Group LP for US$6.5 billion.
Chinese insurers are rushing to acquire high-yielding assets as they struggle to keep up with the policy liabilities of China’s aging population.
US assets are also seen as a good hedge against any future weakness in the renminbi.
The Starwood deal will also undergo a CFIUS review, primarily to ensure that none of its hotels are so close to sensitive US facilities that they pose a threat to US national security.
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