ING Said to Pick Second-Round Bidders for Asset Management Unit
Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC) and Principal Financial Group Inc. (PFG) were invited to make second-round bids for ING Groep NV (INGA)’s asset-management business in Asia, said three people with knowledge of the matter.
United Overseas Bank Ltd. (UOB) and Nikko Asset Management Co. will also be given access to more financial information on the unit, the people said, asking not to be identified because the process is confidential. Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG) dropped out of bidding for the business, another person said.
ING’s Asian asset-management business is worth about 500 million euros ($627 million), according to an estimate by Hans Pluijgers, an Amsterdam-based analyst at Credit Agricole Cheuvreux. The company is under European Union orders to sell its insurance and investment management businesses before the end of 2013, after receiving state aid in 2008 and 2009.
ING spokeswoman Victorina de Boer declined to comment, as did Manulife spokesman Michael May and Susan Houser, a Principal spokeswoman. Jean Khong, a spokeswoman at United Overseas Bank, and Kyoko Wada of Nikko Asset Management also declined to comment. Navleen Prasad, a spokeswoman for Macquarie in Sydney, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Reuters reported on the second-round bidders yesterday, citing people it didn’t identify.
The Asian part of ING’s investment management business had a book value of about 300 million euros at the end of last year, according to a company presentation dated Feb. 9. The Asian unit oversaw 41.7 billion euros as of Dec. 31.
ING investment management oversees assets for ING insurance as well as third-party retail and institutional clients. The Asian unit has operations in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and India according to its website.
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