Billionaire Li’s FWD Group Nearing Deal to Buy CBA’s Indonesia Unit

By , , Emily Cadman and | October 22, 2018

Billionaire Richard Li’s FWD Group is nearing an agreement to buy control of Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Indonesian life insurance arm, people familiar with the matter said, in a deal that would boost the tycoon’s presence in one of the fastest-growing insurance markets.

A deal could be announced as soon as this week, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. A sale of CBA’s 80 percent stake in the business could fetch about $400 million, people with knowledge of the matter said in June.

Chief Executive Officer Matt Comyn is overhauling Australia’s largest lender, with plans to spin off its wealth management and mortgage broking operations. Other suitors for the Indonesian venture included PT Asuransi Jiwa Sequis Life, the insurer part-owned by Nippon Life Insurance Co., Canada’s Sun Life Financial Inc. and Singapore’s Great Eastern Holdings Ltd., Bloomberg News reported last month.

Representatives for [Hong Kong-based] FWD and CBA declined to comment.

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