Zurich Insurance Group is leading the race to acquire a majority stake in Malaysian insurer AmMetlife, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

AmMetlife is a joint venture between US-based insurance firm MetLife and local entity AMMB Holdings

The deal could value AmMetlife at around $400m and would require the Malaysian central bank’s approval, the sources said. 

According to the sources, Singapore-based insurance firm Great Eastern Holdings is also among those vying to acquire around 70% stake in the Malaysian entity.

If the deal goes through, MetLife will divest its entire stake in the joint venture, the sources said, adding that AMMB would retain its 30% shareholding. 

The talks are still ongoing and the entities could  decide not to go ahead with the transaction, they said. 

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An AmBank spokesperson said that if the group has anything important to announce, it will make necessary disclosures. Meanwhile, Zurich’s representatives declined to comment. 

“We do not comment on market rumour or speculation,” a MetLife official was also quoted by the publication as saying. 

AmMetlife was formed in 2014, and in 2020, the owners of the insurance firm announced that they were looking for a potential divestment.

According to its website, the Malaysian insurer is engaged in offering life insurance and wealth protection services that are distributed via more than 200 AmBank and AmMetLife branches across the country. 

In 2020, MetLife sold its Hong Kong units to billionaire Richard Li-backed FWD Group for an undisclosed sum. 

Earlier this year, MetLife announced plans to sell its US variable annuity business.