MBK interested in acquiring ING's S.Korea unit-report

SEOUL Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:51pm EST

SEOUL Jan 30 (Reuters) - Private equity fund MBK Partners has expressed interest in acquiring ING Groep NV's South Korean insurance unit, the Korea Economic Daily reported Wednesday.

MBK Partners recently met with ING officials to express interest in the unit, and had tapped various financial firms within and outside South Korea for a possible joint acquisition, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

Officials at MBK and an ING spokeswoman could not be immediately reached for comment.

In December, KB Financial Group Inc decided against buying ING's South Korean insurance unit after negotiating the prospective price down to roughly $2.1 billion.

The sale of the South Korean unit is part of ING's wider Asia divestment programme to repay a 10 billion euro state bailout received during the global financial crisis.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Richard Pullin)