AXA says it reaches deal with AMP on Axa Asia Pacific arm

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French insurer AXA said on Monday it had reached an agreement with Australian group AMP on control of Axa's Asian unit Axa Asia Pacific Holdings (Axa APH).

It said the accord had been unanimously backed by Axa APH independent directors.

Under the agreement, AMP and Axa APH will merge, after which AMP will sell the Asian activities of Axa APH to Axa, which will end its operations in Australia and New Zealand.

Axa chairman Henri de Castries said in a statement that the arrangement would enable Axa "to double its exposure on the Asian life insurance market."

Axa APH shareholders are to vote on the deal near the end of March 2011 once regulatory approval has been received.

Axa said the terms and conditions of the transaction are those announced on November 15, under which AMP would offer 6.43 Australian dollars per share, either in cash or shares, to buy Axa APH.

AMP's offer values Axa APH at 13 billion Australian dollars (9.3 billion euros, 12.3 billion US dollars).

AMP has said that the merged businesses would have a "significant share in one of the world's fastest growing and most successful wealth management markets."

The AMP offer for Axa APH followed its failed play last year, which was trumped by a higher offer from major Australian bank NAB.

The NAB bid was then dropped in September after being twice rejected by competition regulators.

© 2010 AFP

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