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RETAIL FINANCIAL SERVICES | Tony Chua, Taiwan
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Chinatrust plans to acquire Nan Shan from AIG

AIG still silent on lender's offer previously tagged at $2.15bln by rival bid.

Chinatrust Financial Holding Co. Ltd. wants to purchase American International Group Inc.'s Taiwan life-insurance operations, its president says, pitting the Taiwan banking group against would-be former partners in a takeover of the unit.

A consortium including China Strategic Holdings Ltd., a former battery maker, and private equity firm Primus Financial Holdings Ltd., both based in Hong Kong, entered into an agreement in October to buy the AIG business known as Nan Shan Life Insurance Co. for US$2.15 billion. However, concerns that the companies were new to the insurance industry and might have ties to mainland Chinese interests have held up approval for the deal. The two sides agreed last month to extend the deal's deadline until October 12.

It's not clear if AIG, which is nearly 80% owned by the U.S. government, will entertain a rival bid for Nan Shan. An AIG spokesman couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

"Since regulators have not approved China Strategic's bid for Nan Shan, Chinatrust is eager to renew its offer for the life insurance subsidiary in the best interest of AIG shareholders including U.S. taxpayers," Chinatrust President Daniel Wu said in a statement. Chinatrust was one of several bidders for Nan Shan Life last year but lost out to the China Strategic consortium. Mr. Wu didn't say how much Chinatrust was offering for the insurer.

View the full story in the Wall Street Journal.

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