ING – Aetna End Exclusive Acquisition Discussions

Once again discussions between Dutch bancasssurer ING and the U.S. largest health care insurer, Aetna, seem to have reached an impasse with Aetna’s announcement that it was talking to other interested parties as well as ING.

The exclusive negotiations, aimed at ING’s acquisition of Aetna’s asset management and international business for a reported $9 billion dollars, ended Friday when, according to an announcement by ING, there was “an inability of the two parties to agree on a value for those businesses that would provide a satisfactory return to ING’s stockholders;” i.e. Aetna wanted more money than ING was willing to pay.

It is unclear where, if anywhere, the discussions go from here. “ING made an acquisition proposal, which it believes fully valued the businesses and was fair to Aetna’s stockholders, policyholders, employees and the Hartford community. ING also believes its offer provides advantages that are not available to Aetna under its other options,” said the announcement.

Apparently ING will continue discussions with Aetna, but “will also continue to pursue other opportunities for expanding its presence in the U.S. and internationally.”

For its part, Aetna will apparently “explore other opportunities” as well, but the company hasn’t revealed the identity of any other potential buyers.