Sun Life Vies for $3 Billion Hong Kong Insurer FTLife

(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s Sun Life Financial Inc. is among suitors vying to acquire FTLife Insurance Co., in a deal that could value the Hong Kong insurer at more than $3 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

The Toronto-based insurer is competing with other bidders including the billionaire Cheng family’s Chow Tai Fook (Holding) Ltd., according to the people. Asian alternative asset manager PAG has held talks with investment funds including Singapore sovereign fund GIC Pte about a potential joint offer, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Shares of Sun Life rose 0.1 percent to C$48.39 at 10:24 a.m. trading in Toronto. The stock has fallen 7 percent this year.

FTLife’s owner, Chinese investment firm JD Capital, has asked for second-round bids within the next couple weeks, the people said. No final decisions have been made, and the suitors could decide against submitting offers, according to the people.

JD Capital bought Ageas SA’s Hong Kong Life insurance in 2015 for $1.38 billion and rebranded it as FTLife. Any transaction would add to the almost $44 billion in insurance deals announced this year in the Asia Pacific region, a 22 percent increase from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Other bidders could still emerge, the people said. Reuters reported the sale last week, citing PAG and Chow Tai Fook as potential bidders.

Representatives for Sun Life, GIC and PAG declined to comment. A representative for Chow Tai Fook’s listed jewelry business said the parent company had no comment, while JD Capital didn’t answer phone calls and an email seeking comment.

PAG, founded by TPG veteran Shan Weijian, said this week it raised $6 billion in its third Asia-focused private equity buyout fund.

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