Ping An Said to Mull Rival Takeover Offer for China Biologic

(Bloomberg) -- Ping An Insurance (Group) Co., China’s largest insurer by market value, is considering a rival offer for plasma treatment provider China Biologic Products Holdings Inc., people familiar with the matter said.

An arm of Ping An is in talks with other investors about a potential joint bid for Beijing-based China Biologic, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Any offer would be higher than the $110-per-share proposal from Chinese buyout firm Citic Capital, which valued U.S.-listed China Biologic at about $3.6 billion, the people said.

China Biologic said last month it had received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal letter from Citic Capital seeking to take the company private. The board is reviewing Citic Capital’s interest, and no decisions have been made on how it will respond, it said in a June 19 press release.

Shares of China Biologic rose as much as 4.9 percent in early trading in New York.

Ping An’s investment affiliates have previously targeted U.S.-listed Chinese firms, participating in a 2016 take-private of software developer Qihoo 360 Technology Co. and buying a $1.6 billion stake in Autohome Inc. that same year. A Ping An fund was also part of a consortium behind an aborted attempt to take over clinic operator iKang Healthcare Group Inc. in 2015.

Companies from China have announced $22 billion of acquisitions in the health-care industry this year, on track to surpass the record $34.9 billion of such transactions in 2016, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Ping An’s deliberations are at an early stage, and it could decide against proceeding with an offer, the people said.

It wasn’t immediately clear which entity Ping An would potentially be investing through. Alongside its core insurance business, Ping An has asset management and venture capital operations, in addition to running investment funds targeting industries like health care and financial technology.

A representative for Ping An declined to comment, while a representative for China Biologic didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

China Biologic, which was listed in 2009, sells plasma products including albumin, immunoglobulin for intravenous injection and coagulation factor products, according to its website. Shares of the biopharmaceutical company have risen 27 percent in U.S. trading this year through Monday, giving it a market value of about $3.3 billion.

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