Jack Ma just rubbed his lamp again. Through his various financial holdings, the chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) has teamed with Singapore government wealth fund GIC Pte. Ltd. to buy control of MassMutual Asia Ltd., in a cash and paper deal valued at $1.7 billion.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Co.'s international unit MassMutual International LLC agreed to sell the Hong Kong-based Asia business to a combine made up of Jack Ma-backed Yunfeng Financial Group Ltd, GIC-managed City-Scape Pte. Ltd. Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial Services Ltd. and other Asian investors. MassMutual International will receive HK$7.9 billion ($1.01 billion) in cash and 800 million of Yunfeng's Hong Kong-listed shares at HK$6.50 per share. That's the equivalent of about 24.8% of Yunfeng's share capital.
The news propelled Yunfeng to an intraday high of HK$8.20 on Friday, Aug. 18, up 30% compared with the previous close of HK6.28. By the end of trading Friday, it had fallen back to HK$6.62.
Yunfeng will directly own 60% of MassMutual Asia while the other investors, including Ant Financial, which is indirectly controlled by Ma and in which Yunfeng is also an investor, will own the remaining 40%.
"We will continue to participate in the growing and attractive Asian markets through our ongoing stake in the combined Yunfeng FG and MassMutual Asia business," said MassMutual chairman, president and CEO Roger Crandall in a statement. "The resulting company will be a full-service financial services firm, well-equipped to serve a wide range of customers, including high net worth individuals and an emerging universe of consumers with rising incomes."