GIC and Jack Ma-backed group invest in HK insurer

GIC’s investment in MassMutual Asia comes only weeks after it upped its stake in the UK-based pensions provider Rothesay Life.

Singapore’s GIC Private Limited, together with an investor group led by Yunfeng Financial Group – the financial services company backed by Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma – has agreed to acquire the Hong Kong unit of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company for $1.7 billion.

Under the terms of the cash and stock deal, MassMutual International will receive approximately $1.01 billion in cash and 800 million shares of Yunfeng FG at HK$ 6.50 per share ($0.83; €0.71) with a total value of approximately $668 million, the Singapore state investor said in a statement.

Following the acquisition, Yunfeng FG will hold a direct 60 percent interest in MassMutual Asia, GIC a 7.5 percent stake, while other investors in the consortium such as Ant Financial, Sina, Giant Interactive, Meyu International, Harvest Billion International and Sheen Light Development will hold between 2.8 percent and 9.8 percent of the company.

Yu Feng, chairman of Yunfeng FG, said the transaction would pave the way for integrating the company’s existing fintech focused financial services with traditional insurance business.

GIC believes MassMutual Asia will continue to enjoy the consistent growth of Hong Kong's life insurance industry, it said in a statement.

The firm’s investment in MassMutual Asia comes only weeks after it upped its stake in UK-based pensions provider Rothesay Life, in a deal which also includes private equity heavyweight Blackstone.

MassMutual Asia has two primary subsidiaries: MassMutual Insurance Consultants, which manages general insurance business, and MassMutual Trustees which focuses on the Mandatory Provident Fund business, a compulsory pension plan for Hong Kong residents.