Ing Hits A Speed Bump

Its talks to buy Aetna have stalled, but the insurer has a Plan B: Look for fast internal growth--and other deals

ING Group's Ewald Kist is in surprisingly good humor for someone who has just learned that his bid for the financial services and international units of U.S. insurer Aetna Inc. is in real trouble. On June 16, the Hartford-based underwriter--which had been negotiating exclusively with ING--decided to open talks with other potential buyers because it thought ING's offer was lowball. If ING loses Aetna, its goal of breaking into the ranks of the top 10 U.S. insurance underwriters will be delayed. And its hope of quickly becoming a financial powerhouse in North America as well as Europe could suffer, too.

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