Private equity (PE) firm JC Partners will acquire a controlling stake in KDB Life Insurance for 200 billion won ($184 million) after 10 months of negotiations with state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), and a lukewarm response from bidders.

KDB and Consus Asset Management had owned the insurer since December 2009, but struggled to find a buyer. KDB picked two shortlisted bidders at the end of 2019. However, there was little buyer interest, and it was forced to change the timeline.

JC Partners started conducting detailed due diligence in March and was selected as the preferred bidder in July, but postponed the deal due to apparent difficulties in raising money. It eventually attracted 150 billion won in funding from local small- and medium-sized enterprises and retail investors in the second half of 2020.

The buyer will create a 350 billion won project fund through a stock purchase agreement to buy a 92.7% stake in the insurer, and invest 150 billion won in new shares, while Woori Bank and KDB will pay 100 billion won each for old shares.

Woori replaces existing investors, including reinsurer Korean Re and Asiana Airlines. JC Partners plans to later carry out another capital increase of 200 billion won.

Founded in 2018, The PE firm has B&H, Nedec, AMT and MG Non-Life as its portfolio companies. (Reporting by Ar-rum Rho)