Hong Kong-based AIA Group and investment firm China Strategic are reportedly among the final bidders for Bank of East Asia’s (BEA) life insurance business, BEA Life.

These companies have launched binding bids for the unit, advancing into the final stage of negotiations, people familiar with the matter revealed to Bloomberg.

The Hong Kong-based lender is expected to fetch about $500m to $600m from a potential deal, the sources said, adding that the sale outcome could be announced this month itself.

They also added that BEA could still receive other bids, delaying the deal or even nixing it.

China Strategic recently stated in an exchange filing that it is one of the shortlisted bidders for the unit and has submitted an offer.

The representatives for AIA and BEA declined to comment, according to the report.

BEA started the sale process of its life insurance unit last September, following a strategic review of its portfolio of businesses and assets.

The divestment of the unit is expected to enable the lender to bolster its profits and stock performance.

BEA Life offers a range of life insurance products to both individual and corporate customers in Hong Kong, through the bank’s branches and online channel.

The bank previously said that it will enter into a long-term exclusive distribution agreement with BEA Life buyer to sell insurance offering through its banking platform.

Other anticipated deals in the insurance space

It was reported last month that British bank HSBC and the insurance venture of Malaysia’s Maybank are contending to acquire French insurer AXA’s Singapore operations.

The sale of the unit is expected to generate around $700m.

In December 2020, the European Commission launched an in-depth probe to evaluate the proposed acquisition of Willis Towers Watson by Aon, under the EU Merger Regulation.

The investigation follows the commission’s concern that the proposed deal could cut down the competition in these markets.

Aon’s $30bn bid to take over Irish insurer Willis Towers Watson was announced in March.

Last September, an Arch Capital-led consortium made an offer of nearly $500m to purchase Bermuda-based reinsurance company Watford Holdings.