Allianz pays $1b for Goldman’s stake in Chinese insurer Taikang Life

A Goldman Sachs sign is seen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in the Manhattan borough of New York January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

German insurer Allianz SE has paid about $1 billion for part of Goldman Sachs Inc.’s stake in closely-held Chinese insurer Taikang Life Insurance Co., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Goldman sold a stake of about 4% in Beijing-based Taikang Life to Allianz, according to a statement by the Chinese insurer on Wednesday. The statement didn’t provide any financial details. The U.S. investment bank will retain about 8.6% in Taikang Life after the transaction.

The sale had attracted interest from other potential suitors including private equity firms and some Asian investors, the people said, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

A representative for Goldman Sachs declined to comment, while a representative for Allianz didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Europe’s largest insurer is seeking to tap the growing demand for insurance products in China. Allianz’s investment in Taikang Life follows other recent acquisitions, including the general-insurance assets of Brazil’s SulAmerica in August and two insurance businesses in the U.K. for a combined $1 billion in May. Shares of Allianz rose 1% on Wednesday.

Founded in 1996, Taikang Life Insurance is among China’s largest insurance and financial services companies with 800,000 employees and agents, according to its website. Its main business areas are insurance, asset management, and health and elderly care. Goldman bought the stake in Taikang from French insurer AXA SA in 2011.