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Japan’s Meiji Yasuda in talks to acquire minority stake in Thai Life

Japan-based underwriter Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance is engaged in advance negotiations to acquire a 15% stake in Thai Life Insurance, for nearly $700m.

People familiar with the matter were quoted by Reuters as saying that the proposed deal, which Meiji Yasuda secured against companies, including Sumitomo Life, Carlyle Group, KKR & Co and CVC Capital, will boost its footprint in Southeast Asia.

A deal might be inked within the next one week, one source familiar with the process added.

Controlled by the Thailand’s Chaiyawan family, unlisted Thai Life is divesting its minority stake, with a strategy to collect necessary capital required for the next stage of its growth.

Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance and Thai Life declined to comment on the issue.

Growing purchasing power in Southeast Asia has attracted Japanese insurers and banks to foray and benefit from the opportunities in the region, while alleviating the slow growth at domestic market.

Thai Life Assurance Association data underlines that the company had 15.3% of the country’s life insurance market with annualized premium corresponding to $202m as of the end of the second quarter of 2011.

One source told the new agency that Barclays is advising Thai Life in relation to the sale deal.