A Merrill Lynch sign is seen in Toronto
A Merrill Lynch sign is seen in Toronto, April 29, 2008. REUTERS

(Reuters)-- U.S. Prudential , the No. 2 U.S. life insurer, has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch , to advise on its possible bid for ING's Asian insurance operations, a South Korean media report said on Monday.

The Korea Economic Daily said local small insurer Korea Life Insurance <088350.KS> was also looking into takeover bid for all of ING's Asian insurance assets according to unnamed industry sources cited by the newspaper.

The Korean office of Prudential declined to comment.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by David Chance)