UPDATE 1-New York Life in exclusive negotiation to sell Taiwan unit -sources

Thu May 16, 2013 11:56pm EDT

By Faith Hung

TAIPEI May 17 (Reuters) - U.S.-insurer New York Life is in exclusive negotiations with Yuanta Financial to sell its Taiwan assets, two sources with close knowledge of the deal told Reuters on Friday, joining other global rivals in exiting the Taiwan market.

The size of the deal is not yet final and is subject to Taiwan regulatory approval, said the sources, who asked not to be identified as the matter is confidential.

The deal size would be close to T$100 million ($3.3 million), they said. That was the price the U.S. insurer previously agreed to sell to Taishin Financial, but the deal was turned down by Taiwan regulators early in April.

"Their strategy is to exit Taiwan as soon as possible. They don't really care about how much money they will get," said one of the sources.

"We just talked to them this month. They said they are negotiating with one potential buyer," he added.

Yuanta spokesperson Y. D. Chuang declined to comment, while officials of New York Life's Taiwan unit were not immediately available for comment.

Yuanta, parent of Taiwan's No.1 brokerage and which has been looking for insurance firms to acquire, will sumbit application of the deal to Taiwan regulators soon, said the other source.

American Insurance Group and ING were among the foreign insurers that have left the Taiwan market in the past few years, in part because its interest rates are among the lowest in Asia.