KB jumps into race to acquire Prudential's insurance unit in S. Korea

By Lim Chang-won Posted : January 17, 2020, 14:01 Updated : January 17, 2020, 14:01

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- Armed with an active will to strengthen its non-banking business, KB, a major financial group in South Korea, is well-positioned to acquire an insurer which has been up for sale by Prudential Financial, an American company which provides financial products and services.

Potential buyers such as KB Financial Group, MBK Partners, Han & Company and IMM Private Equity submitted letters of intent on Thursday in the race to acquire Prudential Life Insurance of Korea, which was established in 1989 by Prudential Financial. The preliminary bidding comes as South Korea's insurance market was engulfed in a series of mergers and acquisitions.

KB and other financial groups in South Korea have hunted for financial firms in the non-banking sector to grow in their size and compete with foreign rivals in the overseas market.

"We will consider various M&A possibilities in order to strengthen the group's business portfolio," KB Financial Group Chairman Yoon Jong-kyu said in his New Year's address. "When the opportunity comes, we will go ahead boldly and swiftly."

KB operates a minor insurance company, while Prudential Life Insurance has been rated as having a high competitive edge in life insurance with more than 1,900 life planners at the end of September 2019.

KB Insurance has reorganized its structure prior to Prudential's preliminary bidding. "Reorganization appeared to have been carried out the condition that it will succeed in acquiring life insurance companies such as Prudential Life Insurance," a KB Financial official said.
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