Ameriprise nears deal for ING Asset Management’s Asia unit

Ameriprise Financial is in advanced talks to buy most of ING Group’s money management business in Asia, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The companies are still negotiating on price, and an announcement may come in two to three weeks, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private.

ING’s Asian money management business is worth about €150 million ($194 million), according to a Sept. 4 estimate by Cor Kluis, an analyst at Rabobank International. The company is under European Union orders to sell its insurance and investment management businesses before the end of 2013, after receiving state aid in 2008 and 2009.

Ameriprise has been expanding in Asia through its Threadneedle Investments money management unit, which oversaw £74 billion ($120 billion) as of June 30, according to its website.

A deal for the Asian money management unit would exclude ING’s joint ventures in the region, the person said. ING spokeswoman Victorina de Boer and Paul Johnson, a spokesman for Ameriprise, declined to comment on the talks.

United Overseas Bank, Nikko Asset Management, Manulife Financial and Macquarie Group were among potential bidders that showed interest in the business earlier, people familiar with the matter said in May.

The Asian money management unit had a book value of €200 million, ING said in a presentation Aug. 8. ING wrote down about €180 million of goodwill at its Korean investment management division in the second quarter.

Ameriprise was also among bidders for money management divisions being sold by Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, people familiar with the matter said earlier this year.