China's Anbang wins U.S. security panel OK to buy Fidelity & Guaranty

Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:51pm EDT
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By Diane Bartz and Greg Roumeliotis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China's Anbang Insurance Group, which is looking to buy U.S. hotel operator Starwood HOT.N, has won approval from a U.S. national security panel to buy U.S. annuities and life insurer Fidelity & Guaranty Life (FGL.N: Quote), Fidelity said on Tuesday.

The U.S. insurer said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, had looked at the deal and found no unresolved national security concerns.

Anbang said in November that it would buy Fidelity & Guaranty for about $1.57 billion as Chinese insurers seek to expand into the United States. The deal would make Anbang one of the largest insurers by market share in fixed-indexed annuity products in the United States.

Winning approval from the CFIUS, a panel of 16 federal agencies, was harder than expected because U.S. officials were concerned about the vast amount of customer health and financial information that insurance companies have access to, according to a source close to the deal.

The source asked not to be identified because details of the CFIUS review are confidential.

Fidelity & Guaranty said in the filing it expected the deal to close in the second quarter.

On Monday, Anbang offered to buy Starwood for $12.8 billion, besting an offer made by Marriott International Inc (MAR.O: Quote).

That bid came just days after Anbang made a non-binding bid for Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc from buyout firm Blackstone Group LP (BX.N: Quote) for $6.5 billion.   Continued...