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Taiwan: Ruentex scoops AIG Taiwan on the cheap

Morse’s Primus group loses out – again; Regulators still uneasy about mainland money

US insurer AIG has agreed to sell its Taiwan unit, Nan Shan, to Ruen Chen Investment Holding, part of the Ruentex Group, for $2.16 billion. If it is successful, the deal, which is still awaiting final regulatory approval, will signal the end of AIG’s sale of its Asian assets and the conclusion of the long-running attempt to dispose of Nan Shan.

It will also come as a blow to ex-Citi banker Bob Morse, whose new financial services group, Primus Financial Holdings, was rebuffed by regulators after apparently securing Nan Shan in an earlier bid for the business in August. Primus was again a bidder on this most recent auction, this time with a new consortium after the previous bid together with China Strategic Holdings failed when regulators cited concerns about the group’s ability to fund the acquisition and long-term commitment to the business. Sources close to the deal also say that regulators were concerned about the possibility of mainland Chinese money being involved in the bid, something that is politically controversial in Taiwan.


The victorious Ruentex Group is perhaps not generally as well known outside Taiwan as rival bidders for Nan Shan, such as Cathay Financial and Fubon Financial, but it is one of the largest business empires in the country, with more than 150,000 employees and interests, including medical services, food, construction and real estate, and finance.

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