South Korea approves MBK's $1.8 bln purchase of ING unit

SEOUL Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:22am EST

SEOUL Dec 11 (Reuters) - South Korean financial regulators on Wednesday approved private equity firm MBK Partners' 1.84 trillion won ($1.75 billion)purchase of ING Groep's local insurance unit, the country's largest insurance acquisition.

MBK and ING announced the deal in late August as the bailed-out Dutch firm is obliged to offload more than 50 percent of its Asian operations by the end of 2013.

An investment vehicle set up by MBK will take full control of the Korean operation, but the Dutch firm will retain about 10 percent stake in the unit by participating in the special purpose company, which will also allow MBK to use the ING brand for up to five years, a source close to the matter told Reuters. ($1 = 1052.2000 Korean won) (Reporting by Miyoung Kim and Joyce Lee; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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