KB Financial a shoe-in for ING Life bid

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KB Financial a shoe-in for ING Life bid

KB Financial Group, the nation’s No. 2 banking group, is highly likely to take over ING Life Korea as it is the sole bidder for the insurer, industry sources said yesterday.

A week ago, KB Financial bid for the local unit of global insurance giant ING Group, while multinational life insurer AIA Group was expected to bid but dropped out of the race.

“Negotiations have been going without a hitch, and KB Financial will likely be named the preferred bidder soon unless unexpected developments crop up,” an informed source said.

The price tag on ING Life Korea is estimated at 3.5 trillion won ($3.04 billion), nearly 500 billion won higher than KB Financial’s bid price, market sources said.

KB Financial’s bid for ING Life Korea comes as the group ramps up efforts to grab a larger share of the fast-growing insurance market in the country.

A successful takeover of ING Life Korea would enable KB Financial to have an insurance subsidiary that ranks fourth among local insurance companies.

Currently, the group has minor industry player KB Life Insurance under its wing.

KB Financial said Wednesday that it will not bid for state-owned Woori Finance Holdings, the country’s top financial group by assets. KB Financial’s announcement was seen as a move to prepare for the acquisition of ING Life Korea.

Unionized workers of ING Life Korea, meanwhile, plan to go on strike later this month to demand job guarantees after the acquisition, which may delay the deal, industry insider said.


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