Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's top lender by market value, will pay about $140 million for 80 percent of Bank of East Asia's U.S. unit, the two companies said on Sunday.

The deal, first mentioned in a report on Friday , will require approval from regulators in China and the United States before it is able to proceed, ICBC and BEA said in separate statements posted on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Acquiring a controlling interest in the target bank is an important component in the bank's globalization strategy, and the transaction would complement the bank's overseas institutions, ICBC said in the statement.

Bank of East Asia added that its U.S. unit would now focus on its wholesale banking business through its branches in New York and Los Angeles.

ICBC's buy would make it the first Chinese lender to buy into a U.S. retail bank and is likely to be scrutinized by U.S. regulators and could trigger political controversy.