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Asia-Pacific financial institutions M&A interest tracker


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Asia-Pacific financial institutions M&A interest tracker

Editor's note: This trackercovers possible deals reported by media across the Asia-Pacific region over a certainperiod. The information is gathered from various news sources, excludes confirmeddeals and is limited to potential acquisitions or sales involving companies or operationsin the region. Click here to read the previous month's article.

Chinese firms' seemingly never-ending appetite for mergers andacquisitions in overseas markets drove deal talks in March, as a number of potentialdeals surfaced in the insurance space in the Asia-Pacific region.

In what may herald a fresh wave of overseas acquisitions, Chinesefirms from insurers to banks to energy firms are looking abroad for potential targetsamid a slowing domestic economy and a push from the government to boost overseastrade.

Below is a snapshot ofMarch reports of possible deals compiled by SNL Financial. Click to download the infographic in a PDFformat with links to related stories, which can also be viewed by clicking on certainhighlighted words throughout the text or headlines listed at the bottom.

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Among the most aggressive are Chinese insurers like , whichburst onto the global scene with a high-profile acquisition of the Waldorf Astoriahotel in New York in 2014. Following the Waldorf Astoria hotel deal, Anbang Insurancenever looked back and entered into several M&A transactions across the globe.It made headlines again when it launched a surprise bid to acquire and subsequently walked awayfrom the deal. The failed bid was not enough to keep it down though as the Chineseinsurer on April 6 agreedto acquire Allianz Group'sSouth Korean operations.

Anbang's insurance industry peers arealso on the hunt for overseas acquisitions, with South Korea and Australia as possibledestinations for expansion. In South Korea, Chinese insurers may jockey for U.K.-basedPrudential Plc's lifeinsurance unit, which is said to be up for sale, The Korea Herald reportedMarch 7. Separately, Ping An Insurance(Group) Co. of China Ltd., along with Fosun Group, are likely to bidfor ING Life Insurance Korea Ltd.

Insurers are not the only Chinese firmsscouting around for overseas deals. Securities firm China Merchants Securities Co. Ltd. is to have made an informal bid for , setting up a possibleconfrontation with Singapore ExchangeLtd. for the London-based hub, Reuters reported March 16.

China Merchants Securities is reportedlyready to pay more than what other bidders could offer for Baltic Exchange, accordingto sources, in an example of how well-funded Chinese firms are in their expansionplans. A spokesman for China Merchants Group, the parent of the securities firm,denied knowledge of any bid for Baltic Exchange. Singapore Exchange had previouslyconfirmed that it wasseeking to acquire the business.

On the banking side, is said to be interested in acquiring some of Barclays Plc's African assets, the Financial Times reportedMarch 3. The British bank is retreating from Africa as part of its plan to off-loadnoncore businesses.

Nonfinancial Chinese firms arealso joining financial firms in the hunt for overseas assets. Investment firm LegendHoldings, which owns assets in industries from financial services to technologyand private equity, is said to be closingin on a deal to acquire a minority stake in the U.K.'s Pension Insurance Corp. Plc, Sky News reported March 29.

The Chinese firm could commit as muchas "several hundred million pounds" for a stake in the U.K. company. Anagreement could be reached in April.

Meanwhile, CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd.plans to increase itsholding in J&T Finance Group to 50% from the current level of 10%, MF Dnes reportedMarch 10. J&T Finance controls Czech lender J&T Banka a.s.

The Chinese investor still needs tosecure the consent of the Czech central bank.

Not all the forays made by Chinesefirms overseas have been successful. FosunInternational Ltd. is reportedlyseeking a partial sale of IronshoreInc., The Insurance Insider reportedMarch 17. The rumored sale comes as Fosun is looking to relieve Ironshore of pressurefrom rating agencies, sources said.

Back in the Asia-Pacific region, severalpossible deals in the insurance sector emerged during March. Macquarie Group Ltd.'s life insurance arm became the subjectof interested buyers as MetLife Inc.,Zurich Insurance Group Ltd.and some Japanese and Chinese life insurers emergedas prospective buyers of the assets, The AustralianFinancial Review's Street Talk blogreported March 3.

Zurich Insurance was able to with MacquarieGroup for acquiring the Australian firm's life insurance business for an undisclosedsum. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half, subject toregulatory and court approvals.

While Zurich Insurance is buying lifeinsurance assets in Australia, it is considering letting go of its nonlife insuranceoperations in Taiwan. The insurer is reportedly looking to sell its Taiwanese nonlife insurance operations, The Insurance Insider reported March 17.Sources said the business' capital is lower than the US$122 million of premiumsit wrote in 2015.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities' newrestrictions on buying insurance policies in Hong Kong have caused some interestedsuitors of Dah Sing Financial HoldingsLtd.'s insurance operations to think twice about the , FinanceAsia reported March 16.

The People's Bank of China, in a bidto slow capital outflows, prohibited Chinese buyers from using use third-party paymentproviders when buying life insurance and investment-related products in Hong Kong.

Moving to India, the government isreportedly moving aheadwith its plan to cut its stake in IDBIBank Ltd. and is fielding proposals from several interested buyers.The U.K's CDC Group Plcis in talks with the Indian government to buy a stake and has started due diligenceon IDBI Bank, Mint reported March 21.

The government is reportedly consideringcutting its stake in the bank to less than 50% from the current 80.2%. It is alsoready to share management control and may offer board seats to a strategic partner,sources said.

CDC Group joined U.S.-based in pursuinga stake in IDBI Bank, Bloomberg News reportedMarch 17.

Another interested investor, InternationalFinance Corp., has finished inspecting the assets and liabilities of the Indianbank, Mint reported.

To read articles about the other dealpossibilities, click on the following headlines.

Report: DBS leads race to buy Barclays' Asia wealth management ops

Nomura, United Overseas Bank eying Barclays' Singapore, Hong Kong privatewealth business

Report: KB Financial wins race for Hyundai Securities stake

Report: Carlyle Group, 2 other firms in race for KDB Capital

KB Financial to participate in final bidding round for Hyundai Securities

Korea Development Bank unit attracts 3 suitors

China Minsheng Banking unit to renegotiate Quam share purchase

Apro Service Group unit picked as preferred bidder for Cambodian lender

Report: ANZ's bid to sell Bank Panin stake hits another snag

Summit Bank mulls acquisition of Burj Bank

Report: Reliance Capital unit in talks to buy JPMorgan's India assetmanagement biz

MCB Bank in talks to acquire NIB Bank

Report: Macquarie considers bid for UK Green Investment Bank

As of April 11, US$1 was equivalent to A$1.31.