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Report: Shinhan Financial in talks to buy ING Life Insurance majority stake

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Report: Shinhan Financial in talks to buy ING Life Insurance majority stake

South Korea's Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. is said to be in talks with private equity firm MBK Partners Ltd. to acquire the latter's 59.15% stake in ING Life Insurance Korea Ltd., The Chosun Ilbo reported Aug. 14, citing industry sources.

The deal is expected to be priced below the private equity firm's 2.5 trillion won asking price. The deal negotiations with Shinhan Financial will also address the issue of keeping existing ING Life Insurance employees on the payroll.

An MBK Partners official said the deal is still open to other potential bidders, including KB Financial Group Inc.

In May, Shinhan Financial was reported to have scrapped its plan to purchase a majority stake in the life insurer over the deal's terms and pricing.

The acquisition of ING Life Insurance is expected to boost Shinhan Financial's nonbank business portfolio, which contributed less than 30% of group net income in the first half.

Further, the combined assets of ING Life Insurance and Shinhan Life Insurance Co. Ltd. will make Shinhan Financial's life insurance business the fifth-largest in the industry. ING Life Insurance, which is set to be renamed OrangeLife in September under an existing brand licensing agreement with former parent ING Groep NV, currently has assets worth 31 trillion won, while Shinhan Life Insurance has 30 trillion won of assets.

As of Aug. 13, US$1 was equivalent to 1,133.90 South Korean won.