Prudential in talks to buy AIG's Asian unit
Prudential, Britain's largest insurer, is in advanced talks to buy the Asian arm of American International Group (AIG) in a deal worth about $35.5bn (€26bn).
The talks are occurring as AIG, which is trying to repay the US government after a $182.3bn taxpayer-funded rescue, also moves ahead with its plan for an initial public offering (IPO) for the unit, American International Assurance.
A Hong Kong IPO for the unit is expected to raise more than $10bn, depending on the size of the stake sold.
Financing for the bid could include a share issue by Prudential, according to people familiar with the matter.
One source said Prudential chief executive Tidjane Thiam held talks with AIG executives in New York last week.
Prudential could issue a statement as early as today. A deal would make Prudential one of the biggest insurers in Asia.
It operates in 13 Asian markets, where it has more than 11 million life customers. Asia, which accounted for 44pc of Prudential's profits in 2008, is seen as the engine of the group's future growth.
AIG is also in advanced talks to sell another large foreign life insurance unit, American Life Insurance, to MetLife in a deal worth about $15bn.