Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte has held talks with Chinese authorities about acquiring a stake in Anbang Insurance Group Co (安邦保險), as well as some of its assets, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Temasek has been examining a potential deal for several months, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.
The S$308 billion (US$223.73 billion) investment firm is not currently in any negotiations about an Anbang transaction, two people with knowledge of its deliberations said.
“We do not comment on market speculations or rumors,” Temasek said in an e-mailed statement.
China Insurance Investment Co (中國保險投資基金), a body that is owned by some of the nation’s biggest insurance firms, is also considering investing in Anbang and is in talks with regulators in that regard, some of the people said.
The interest from Temasek and China Insurance Investment indicates that Beijing is making progress trying to find strategic investors for Anbang almost eight months after officials temporarily seized control of the insurer and put its chairman in jail.
Anbang’s voracious overseas dealmaking in the years leading up to the government intervention saw the company rise from obscurity to become a famed acquirer of trophy assets, sometimes at excessive valuations.
Officials at the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The commission would be one of the key bodies needed to approve such a deal.
A telephone call to Shanghai-based China Insurance Investment seeking comment was not answered, and a spokesperson for Anbang said the company does not comment on market speculation.
Beijing has indicated that fresh investors would eventually replace an industry security fund that in April injected 60.8 billion yuan (US$8.79 billion) of capital into Anbang to keep the Beijing-based insurer a private business, as opposed to a state-owned one.
It is as yet unclear how much Temasek or China Insurance Investment would be willing to pay for a part of Anbang, or how much of a stake they would look to take, the people said.
Temasek already has a number of investments in Chinese banks, a show of its confidence in the nation’s huge and growing financial sector.
Its interests include stakes in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd (中國工商銀行), China Construction Bank Corp (中國建設銀行), Ping An Insurance (Group) Co (中國平安保險) and Bank of China Ltd (中國銀行), data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
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