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Report: KB Financial, Woori Financial vying for Prudential Financial unit

KB Financial Group Inc. and Woori Financial Group Inc. are among the companies joining the preliminary bid for Prudential Life Insurance Co. of Korea Ltd., set to be held Jan. 20, Pulse reported.

The news comes after Reuters reported in November 2019 that Prudential Financial Inc. was planning to exit the South Korean market through the sale of the unit in a deal that could fetch approximately 2 trillion won.

If KB Financial acquires Prudential Life, its KB Life Insurance Co. Ltd. unit could climb the insurance ranking to ninth from 17th in the domestic market, according to the report. In 2018, KB Financial lost a bid to acquire Orange Life Insurance Co. Ltd., formerly ING Life Insurance Korea Ltd., to Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. due to board opposition. With the ING Life Insurance deal, KB Financial reportedly lost its No. 1 title in the domestic market to Shinhan Financial.

Analysts expect Woori Financial to partner with a private equity firm in acquiring Prudential Financial's Korean unit. In 2019, Woori Financial partnered with private equity firm MBK Partners to acquire a 79.83% stake in Lotte Card Co. Ltd.

As of Jan. 3, US$1 was equivalent to 1,164.78 South Korean won.