The report, as explained to the Wall Street Journal, suggests the sell-down now makes sense, given the fact the Chinese insurer’s share price is just 2 percent off the HK$25.50 Carlyle used as an exit point to a large chunk of its ownership stake in July.
The report also suggested the sale by Carlyle would be a boon to both the Washington, D.C., investment firm, which could net some $700 million from a sale, and the Hong Kong-listed one.
The sell-down by Carlyle would add the wave of large U.S. and European financial corporations putting stakes of Chinese insurance acquisitions made in the frothy pre-crisis years on the block. The UK’s HSBC Holdings said last week it was in talks to sell its shares of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China. Two weeks before that giant Dutch bancassurer ING gave an update in a statement about how the “divestment of more than 50 percent of the Asian insurance/IM operations has to be completed by year-end 2013.” New York-based American Insurance Group, for its part, has been walking the long road to selling its Asian insurance unit AIA since September.