Hong Kong's Chow Tai Fook in Exclusive Talks to Buy FTLife

(Bloomberg) -- Chow Tai Fook (Holding) Ltd., the Hong Kong conglomerate known for its chain of jewelry shops across China, is in exclusive talks to buy FTLife Insurance Co., people familiar with the matter said.

Chinese investment firm JD Capital, the insurer’s owner, and the billionaire Cheng family’s Chow Tai Fook are aiming to reach an agreement as soon as next week, the people said. A deal could value FTLife at close to $3 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

No final decisions have been made, and talks could still fall apart, allowing JD Capital to resume talks with other suitors, the people said.

The Hong Kong insurer has attracted interest from potential buyers including Canada’s Sun Life Financial Inc. and Asian alternative asset manager PAG, which had held talks with Singapore’s GIC Pte about a potential joint offer, Bloomberg News reported.

A representative for Chow Tai Fook’s listed jewelry business said the parent company had no comment, while JD Capital didn’t respond to requests for comment.

JD Capital agreed to buy Ageas SA’s Hong Kong life insurance unit in 2015 for $1.38 billion and later rebranded it FTLife.

Any acquisition would add to the $51 billion of insurance deals involving Asia Pacific firms this year, 23 percent more than the same 2017 period, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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