Chinese insurer Anbang to pay $1 billion for majority stake in South Korea's Tong Yang

By Reuters

Feb 17, 2015 02:39 AM EST

China's Anbang Insurance Group has agreed to pay 1.13 trillion won ($998 million) to take a controlling stake in South Korean's eighth-largest life insurer Tong Yang Life Insurance, Tong Yang said on Tuesday.

Extending an aggressive acquisitions drive, Anbang will buy a combined 63 percent stake in Tong Yang from three separate investors for 16,700 won per share, the South Korean firm said in a regulatory filing. Anbang plans to acquire a 57.5 percent stake held by domestic private equity firm Vogo Investment, as well as stock owned by two minority shareholders.

The deal is the second move in a week by previously little known Anbang to expand its global footprint, following its agreement to buy an insurance arm of Dutch bank and insurer SNS Reaal in a transaction worth at least 1.4 billion euros ($1.60 billion). Deals by Anbang last year include the $1.95 billion purchase of New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel and the Belgian banking operations of Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd NV for 219 million euros.

It also made a $2.7 billion bid for control of South Korea's Woori Bank - one that failed after no competing bid emerged, as required by South Korean law.

Anbang officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

An additional 33.9 billion won will be paid by Anbang to the sellers once the deal wins Seoul regulators' approval, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal. The person wasn't authorized to discuss the matter with the media and spoke of condition of anonymity.

Both the seller and buyer expect to apply for regulatory approval in China and South Korea by the end of February, hoping to close the deal by late May or June, the person with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters earlier on Tuesday.

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