Photographer: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg

China's HNA Buys $446 Million Stake in Old Mutual U.S. Unit

Updated on
  • Stake is latest in HNA’s $30b haul of deals since last year
  • Old Mutual’s share of U.S. unit will drop to 26% from 51%

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. agreed to buy a 25 percent stake in Old Mutual Plc’s U.S. asset management unit for about $446 million, adding to a $30 billion spending spree since last year.

Old Mutual is selling down its holdings in OM Asset Management to HNA Group in two tranches, according to an emailed statement on Sunday from the London-based company. The first -- comprising 9.95 percent at $15.30 per share -- will be completed within 30 days, with a second 15 percent stake at $15.75 taking place in the second half, the company said.

The Hainan-based conglomerate has been investing in financial services as it seeks to broaden its portfolio beyond tourism and aviation. In the first quarter, it bought a $200 million stake in SkyBridge Capital, agreed to acquire assets from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. and became one of the largest shareholders in Deutsche Bank AG.

Old Mutual is also undertaking a transformation, preparing to break up its wealth, U.S. asset management business, emerging-markets unit and Johannesburg-based lender Nedbank into standalone entities by the end of 2018. The split is the culmination of a strategic review started by Chief Executive Officer Bruce Hemphill in November as he seeks to boost profitability and a share price that’s trailed peers.

After the transactions with HNA, Old Mutual’s holding of OM Asset Management will drop to about 26 percent, from about 51 percent now, it said. Two directors from the Chinese company’s HNA Capital U.S. unit will join Old Mutual Asset Management’s board as part of the deal, which was first reported by the Financial Times on Saturday. OM Asset Management has about $240 billion of assets under management.

HNA Group didn’t respond to calls or emails seeking comment outside of Asian office hours.

The company controlled by billionaire Chen Feng last year also bought stakes in hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and electronics distributor Ingram Micro Inc.

HNA Group is leading a deal to acquire Manhattan’s 245 Park Ave. for $2.21 billion, one of the highest prices paid for a New York skyscraper, two people with knowledge of the negotiations said last week.

— With assistance by Rachel Chang

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.