South Korea's Hana Financial Group Inc (086790.KS) has formed a strategic tie-up with China Merchants Bank Co Ltd (600036.SS), Hana said on Tuesday.

The partnership includes equity investments in both parties.

However, Hana ruled out a possibility the Chinese bank may help fund its $4.1 billion purchase of Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) (004940.KS).

It may take more than six months for the Chinese bank to actually make an investment, a Hana spokesman said, citing required approval from the Chinese government.

Hana will choose investors for its $1 billion share sale to finance its KEB takeover as early as late January. About 10 investors had submitted letters of intent, including Carlyle Group [CYL.UL], Corsair Capital and MBK Partners.