Prudential snaps up AIA shortly before a planned IPO

The agreed merger takes bankers and investors by surprise and may leave Hong Kong without a flagship IPO this year.

After a weekend of speculation that eventually turned into more substantial reports, UK-based Prudential plc yesterday confirmed that it has reached an agreement to merge with AIA Group, the Asian life insurance business wholly owned by American International Group AIG, in a transaction valued at $35.5 billion.

The merger, which ranks as the largest insurance MA ever, will create a life insurance powerhouse in Asia with more than 20 million customers and businesses in 15 countries. It...

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