S.Korea's LIG Insurance gets binding bids in deal seen above $390 mln

SEOUL Mon May 19, 2014 5:39am EDT

SEOUL May 19 (Reuters) - Lotte Shopping, KB Financial Group and private equity-backed Tong Yang Life were among the companies that submitted binding bids for a controlling stake in LIG Insurance seen worth above 400 billion won ($390.6 million), the bidders said on Monday.

After initial bids for South Korea's fourth-largest general insurer by assets were accepted in late March, six bidders including Lotte, KB, Tong Yang, PE firm MBK Partners, and a consortium of Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives (KFCC) and local PE player Jabez Partners were shortlisted, according to a source briefed on the deal.

The shortlisted bids were in the range of 400 billion-600 billion won, the source said, although Monday's bids could have changed prices.

Among the shortlisted bidders, MBK Partners did not submit a binding bid on Monday, according to another source with knowledge of the deal. The sources are not authorised to speak to media.

Some of LIG Insurance's shareholders have put up for sale about a 20 percent stake, including management control, valued at 352.3 billion won as of Monday's closing price, without adding management premium.

Shareholders put the stake on block to raise funds to reimburse investors who lost money on faulty debt issued by a now-defunct construction affiliate of LIG Group, LIG said in November.

An LIG spokesman referred queries to sell-side advisor Goldman Sachs, which declined comment. MBK and KFCC declined to comment, while Jabez could not be immediately reached.

LIG intends to choose a preferred bidder by early June, and close the deal by end-June at the earliest, according to local news wire service Yonhap on Monday.

($1 = 1024.0500 Korean Won) (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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