UPDATE 1-Italy votes in local elections that may boost the centre-right
* Anti-establishment 5-Star still strong at national level (Adds start to voting, early turnout, government still working on banks decree)
HONG KONG May 22 Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is in talks to purchase a stake in Hong Kong asset management company Value Partners Group Ltd, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The group is in talks to buy a part of Chairman Cheah Cheng Hye’s holding in Value Partners, and may look to increase its stake further, Bloomberg said, citing the sources. It did not specify how much stake HNA was looking to buy.
A deal could value Value Partners, among Asia’s largest independent asset managers, at more than $2 billion, the media company reported citing another source.
Shares of Value Partners were suspended on Monday afternoon after rising more than 8 percent in the morning.
The companies hope to reach a deal in coming weeks, but it's not certain the talks will lead to a formal transaction, Bloomberg reported.
HNA declined to comment. Value Partners and Cheah did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
HNA group has been on a spending spree in recent months, as it looks to diversify away from its traditional logistics core business.
The owner of Hainan Airlines Co inked about $20 billion in deals last year, snapping up a stake in Hilton Hotels and investing in catering and logistics firms and is increasingly pushing into financial services.
With more than $100 billion in assets, investments this year have included a hedge fund platform, a New Zealand lender and a 9.9 percent stake in Germany's Deutsche Bank. (Reporting by Michelle Price; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
FRANKFURT, June 25 The time may be nearing for the European Central Bank to start discussing the end of unprecedented stimulus as growth and inflation are both moving in the right direction, Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.