FWD Group is said to be in advanced talks to buy MetLife's Hong Kong insurance unit in what would be the latest in a string of acquisitions by the insurer backed by billionaire Richard Li, Bloomberg reports.
The deal could value MetLife Hong Kong at under $400m, priced close to its embedded value, or a measure of the value of its insurance contracts.
Insurance products are popular among mainland Chinese customers because they are seen as offshore investments that can help diversify their assets and hedge against the volatility in the renminbi. MetLife's Asia business saw adjusted earnings rise 9% in the first quarter due to growth in South Korea and China. In May, it also recorded strong momentum during the period in Japan.
FWD has been buying insurance assets across Asia, agreeing in October to acquire control of Commonwealth Bank of Australia's Indonesian life insurance unit.
Earlier this year, FWD reached a preliminary pact with Siam Commercial Bank on a potential life-insurance partnership and it also purchased American International Group Inc.'s Japanese life unit following earlier deals in Singapore and Vietnam in 2017.
Talks over MetLife Hong Kong are ongoing and could still fall apart, the people said. Representatives for FWD and New York-based MetLife declined to comment.