Thu, Feb 19, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Anbang Insurance to buy US$1 billion Tongyang Life stake


Anbang Insurance Group Co (安邦保險集團), which bought New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, is to buy a controlling stake in South Korea’s Tongyang Life Insurance Co for 1.13 trillion won (US$1 billion).

Anbang, based in Beijing, will buy 67.8 million shares at 16,700 won apiece from Korean buyout firm Vogo Fund LP and two other shareholders, Tongyang said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday. Anbang will pay an additional 33.9 billion won if certain conditions are fulfilled, Tongyang said, without providing specifics.

The deal marks the second cross-border investment by Anbang announced publicly in as many days. It is the latest in a series of acquisitions by a company that people familiar with the matter said in November is planning an initial public offering that could raise about US$2 billion.

“It looks to me like they’re going on a spending spree to get in the news ahead of a huge global IPO,” said Andrew Clarke, director of trading at Mirabaud Securities Asia Ltd in Hong Kong. “That would be my guess. It’s making these acquisitions ahead of a London, New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai listing.”

Anbang has transactions pending in Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa, chairman and chief executive Wu Xiaohui (吳小暉) said at a Harvard University recruitment event last month, according to a transcript posted on the People’s Daily Web site in China.

His firm won regulatory approval this month to acquire the Waldorf from Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc for US$1.95 billion. The Chinese company bought Belgian insurer Fidea NV in October and agreed to purchase the Belgian banking operations of Delta Lloyd NV in December.

The company will increase the capital of Dutch insurer Vivat by as much as 1 billion euros (US$1.14 billion) after its purchase was approved by the Dutch government, Dutch Foreign Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Monday.

Vivat is the former insurance arm of seized bank SNS Reaal NV.

Founded in 2004, Anbang’s early shareholders included state-owned enterprises SAIC Motor Corp (上海汽車) and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (中國石化), known as Sinopec.

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