UPDATE 1-Pru gets S.Korea anti-trust nod for AIA deal-FTC

* Prudential gets South Korean anti-trust nod for AIA deal

* Talks ongoing with Vietnam authorities
(Adds details, background)

By Denny Thomas and So-Eui Rhee

HONG KONG/SEOUL, April 29 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s Prudential
Plc (PRU.L: ) has secured South Korean anti-trust approval for its
planned $35.5 billion takeover of American International Group
Inc’s (AIG.N: ) Asian life insurance business, a Korean Fair Trade
Commission (FTC) official said. told Reuters on Thursday.

The approval brings the British insurer a step closer to
receiving full regulatory clearance in Asia to proceed with its
bold and ambitious plan to become a dominant Asian insurer.

Prudential is in discussions with regulators in Vietnam to
address anti-trust issues with its acquisition of American
International Assurance (AIA), a source familiar with the deal
said. Vietnam has yet to make a final decision.

The source said Prudential had not been asked to dispose of
any assets to meet regulatory approval in the region.

“South Korea’s anti-trust agency the Fair Trade Commission
has reviewed the Prudential-AIA deal regarding its impact on the
South Korean market and … delivered its approval on the deal to
Prudential,” an official at the FTC said.

Prudential’s mammoth deal is not without risk. Analysts have
highlighted possible shareholder dissent, regulatory issues and
above all the complexity of merging two diverse companies that
have been rivals for decade in the region.

However, the source said Prudential was confident og
receiving shareholder support to clinch the deal. “There is good
support for the deal,” the source said.

Prudential needs 75 percent shareholder support for the deal
when the voting takes place on May 27.

The source declined to be identified because of the sensitive
nature of the discussions.

Newspaper reports out of London this week said Prudential’s
largest shareholder, Capital Research & Management, had
reservations about the deal and would prefer a break-up of
Prudential. Capital has 12 percent of Prudential’s shares spread
across three separate group vehicles.

Prudential has also been criticised over its massive $21
billion rights offer to part-fund the acquisition. Some British
shareholders are finding it hard to raise funds to participate in
the rights offer. The source said Prudential was not considering
tweaking the terms of the deal.

“The only thing they could have done to reduce the scale of
the rights issue was to get in a strategic investor. They had
opportunities, but that would have been very dilutive,” the
source said. “They don’t see it as necessary to tweak the terms
of the deal.”

The prospectus for the rights offer is scheduled to be
released next week, while Hong Kong and Singapore listing is due
to start on May 11.

Prudential’s bid has been masterminded by Chief Executive
Tidjane Thiam. The deal is also critical for AIG, which received
a $182.3 billion taxpayer-funded rescue after its near collapse
in September 2008. A collapse of the deal would also be a setback
for the U.S. government.

Prudential’s cash call is fully underwritten by Credit Suisse
(CSGN.VX: ), HSBC Holdings (0005.HK: ) (HSBA.L: ) and JP

Stock Report

Morgan Cazenove.

UPDATE 1-Pru gets S.Korea anti-trust nod for AIA deal-FTC