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Chinese investor may win bid for ING's Korea unit

All News 10:48 July 25, 2016

SEOUL, July 25 (Yonhap) -- A Chinese buyer is expected to win the bid to acquire South Korea's fifth-largest life insurer by assets, industry sources said Monday.

MBK Partners, a South Korean private equity fund, plans to begin the formal bidding process early next month to sell off ING Life Korea. A deal that could fetch around US$3 billion.

"Preliminary due diligence that started in June has almost finished," a source said. "A preferred bidder is scheduled to be selected through the bidding to open in early August."

It's shaping up as a three-way competition of the Hong Kong-based private fund JD Capital, China Taiping Insurance Group and Fosun Group, both of which are China's strategic investors, according to the source.

Initially, several South Korean and other Chinese insurance firms, including Anbang Insurance and Pingan Insurance, expressed their interest. But they recently dropped bids, another source said.

It raised the prospects of a Chinese investor acquiring the South Korean insurer.

In April, Anbang purchased the South Korean operations of Germany's insurance giant Allianz for $3 million.

MBK Partners took over the entire stake in ING Life Korea in 2013 for $1.6 billion.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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