A U.S. regulator that reviews proposed foreign investment projects on national security grounds has cleared a proposed $2.7 billion bid by China Oceanwide Holdings to purchase American insurer Genworth Financial.
Genworth and China Oceanwide said in a statement on Saturday that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, “has completed its review of their proposed transaction and concluded that there are no unresolved national security concerns with respect to the proposed transaction. This satisfies one of the conditions to the closing of the proposed transaction.”
Beijing-headquartered China Oceanwide Holdings is a financial and real estate group controlled by Chinese billionaire. In January, Ant Financial, the financial services arm of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, said it had ended an agreement to buy U.S. money transfer firm MoneyGram after it was unable to obtain CFIUS approval.
As part of their proposed transaction, Genworth and Oceanwide have entered into a “mitigation agreement” which, among other things, requires Genworth to use a U.S.-based, third-party service provider to manage and protect the personal data of Genworth’s U.S. policyholders, the statement said. The transaction remains subject to other conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals in the U.S., China and elsewhere.
Ant, one of the world’s most valuable unlisted businesses, made headlines last week with word that it had raised $14 billion in a stock sale to domestic and overseas investors that values the company at $150 billion. Alibaba, however, declined on Friday to say how much Ma owns in Ant; as an unlisted company, it isn’t required to disclose its shareholding structure and make its ownership transparent. In an earlier U.S. filing, Alibaba said Ma’s direct and indirect interest in Ant “will be reduced over time” to 8.8% within three to five years from the period starting with Alibaba’s Sept. 2014 IPO, and that the “reduction will be caused in a manner by which neither Jack nor any of his affiliates would receive any economic benefit.” Ma held an approximately 8.8% stake in Alibaba at the time of its IPO.
China Oceanwide’s businesses include operations in financial services, energy, culture and media, and real estate assets globally. It is the controlling shareholder of the Shenzhen-listed Oceanwide Holdings and Minsheng Holdings; the Hong Kong-listed China Oceanwide Holdings; the privately-held Minsheng Securities, Minsheng Trust, and Asia Pacific Property & Casualty Insurance. It is also the single largest shareholder of Australia-listed CuDECO, and a minority investor in Shanghai-listed China Minsheng Bank and Hong Kong-listed Legend Holdings. In the U.S., China Oceanwide has real estate investments in New York, California, and Hawaii. Businesses controlled by China Oceanwide have more than 10,000 employees globally, the statement said. Lu is worth $6.6 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today.