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China Oceanwide, Genworth Financial extend $2.7 billion merger deadline
November 29, 2017 / 10:02 PM / 16 days ago

China Oceanwide, Genworth Financial extend $2.7 billion merger deadline

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The closing deadline for China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co’s (0715.HK) proposed purchase of Genworth Financial Inc (GNW.N) has been extended for a second time, to April 1, to allow them to satisfy a U.S. review on foreign takeovers, they said on Wednesday.

The $2.7 billion transaction, announced more than a year ago, has been held up by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency panel that vets such takeovers for national security.

The extension would allow Genworth, an insurer based in Richmond, Virginia, and the Beijing-based investment firm to amend the original terms to satisfy concerns raised by the committee. Analysts have said the concerns may center around Chinese state access to customer data.

In an Oct. 2 filing, the companies offered to engage a U.S. company to act as a third-party service provider to administer policies in the United States and wall off all data from the parent company.

“We are making good progress in our discussions with a U.S. third-party service provider about proposed mitigation approaches, which justified the merger agreement extension,” Genworth President and Chief Executive Tom McInerney said in a statement.

The partners expect to refile their CFIUS approval application “in the near term,” he added. This would be the third refiling since the transaction was announced, and would give CFIUS another 75 days to study the deal.

Chinese firms and investment funds have found it increasingly difficult to acquire U.S. companies as the Trump administration has taken a conservative stance to such deals.

    Other takeovers of financial services firms, including remittance company MoneyGram International Inc (MGI.O), have been delayed for similar reasons.

    A purchase of a 20 percent stake in financial services firm Cowen Group by CEFC China Energy was abandoned last week after failing to secure CFIUS approval.

    Other companies have been tweaking their deals with Chinese acquirers lately after U.S. government pushback. U.S. mobile marketing firm AppLovin said in November it abandoned plans to sell a majority stake to a Shanghai-based investor and instead turned it into a debt investment.

    Securing a takeover is important for Genworth, which has been evaluating how it would handle $600 million worth of debt maturing in May 2018 if it did not complete its sale to Oceanwide. Other options include asset sales and other refinancing methods.

    Additional Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn in New York and Diane Bartz in Washington D.C.; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Richard Chang

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