New Suitors for AIG's Major Asian Arm?
Clark Troy submits:Reuters on Monday reported that according to Chinese-language financial source the 21st Century Business Herald, a consortium of Chinese bidders including banking heavyweight ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) and its life insurance peer China Life might bid as much as $10 billion for up to 30% of AIA, the crown jewel of AIG's empire in Asia, prior to the unit's long-planned IPO. Other sources, including the Shenzhen Times, chose to place the accents elsewhere and interpret the same article as implying that the consortium would not bid for AIA, claiming that it's valuation at $30 billion was too rich. Unfortunately, I don't read Chinese so I can't adjudicate this one.To refresh readers' memories, British insurer Prudential PLC (PUK) (no relation to America's Prudential) had proposed to acquire AIA for $35.5 billion before that deal fell apart when key Prudential shareholders -- including America's Fidelity Investments and the Capital Group, parent of the leading actively managed family of funds, American Funds -- protested, saying that AIA wasn't worth it. Prudential submitted a lower bid of $30.37 billion, which AIG CEO Robert Benmosche wanted to take, and which creditor in chief the New York Fed had signed off on, but AIG's board wouldn't take it, fearing that the shareholders would push back yet again. Benmosche then deposed AIG chair Harvey Golub, and also put former Prudential PLC CEO Mark Tucker at the head of AIA.Complete Story »