According to The FT, the UK-listed insurer held preliminary talks with the Chinese conglomerate and US private equity groups, TPG and Advent, which have approached the company for its $900m (£720m, €845m) controlling stake in Old Mutual Asset Management (OMAM).
However, Anglo-South African insurer, which is currently going through a high-profile split of its businesses, has failed to reach an agreement with the potential bidders, the publication has reported.
Instead, Old Mutual reduced its existing 66% stake in OMAM to 51% in December, a move said that has frustrated the buyers and could jeopardise a future deal.
The paper said that OMAM has repeatedly hampered the deal with chief executive Peter Bain pursuing an “acquisition growth strategy” of purchasing boutique investment managers.
HNA SkyBridge buyout
HNA is still interested in striking a deal with Old Mutual but only if it can buy a majority stake in OMAM, two sources said.
HNA has revealed it is keen to build an asset management arm following the acquisition of a stake in SkyBridge Capital, the $12bn fund of hedge funds business founded by Anthony Scaramucci, an early backer of US president Donald Trump.
A vocal critic of the US Department of Labor’s (DoL) fiduciary rule, considered the US equivalent of the UK’s retail distribution review (RDR), Scaramucci’s hopes for a Whitehouse role were dashed earlier this month over the SkyBridge sale to the politically connected HNA.
There are concerns the deal represents a potential conflict of interests.
Old Mutual break up
Last March, Old Mutual announced that it will split its business into four separate units, in a move which the insurer claims will help it perform better.
The cost-cutting exercise will see the Old Mutual separate into South African bank Nedbank, UK wealth manager Old Mutual Wealth, OM Asset Management and Old Mutual Emerging Markets.
Old Mutual declined and OMAM declined to comment but during its interim last August said: “We may receive approaches for some or all of our businesses.
“We will evaluate these carefully and rigorously, balancing the criteria of value, cost, time and risk relative to our broad stakeholder interests.”