Two South Korean firms are on the shortlist in bidding for the Asian life insurance operations of Dutch banking giant ING Groep, a report said on Thursday.
Korea Life Insurance and KB Financial Group were among several initial bidders including US firm MetLife, Canada's Manulife Financial Corp and Hong Kong's AIA Group, Dow Jones Newswires quoted people familiar with the matter as saying.
Analysts told Dow Jones the price for the operations could exceed $7 billion, making it one of Asia's biggest insurance deals.
KB Financial is bidding only for ING's Korean operations.
The company has been trying to expand its non-banking business, especially life insurance, since it currently relies heavily on its banking unit Kookmin Bank for revenue.
ING has asked interested parties to choose to bid for either the entire Asian operations, the Korean operations, the Japanese operations, or the Southeast Asian operations.
Korea Life and KB Financial declined comment on the report.