KKR, BlackRock, Funds in Talks to Buy Stake in China Huarong

KKR, BlackRock, Funds in Talks to Buy Stake in China Huarong (Reuters)

KKR & Co (KKR) and BlackRock Inc (BLK) are among leading global investors in talks to buy a stake in China Huarong Asset Management Co Ltd. as the bad debt manager seeks to raise more than $2 billion, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Other possible investors include rival private equity firms Blackstone Group (BX) and Bain Capital, the sources said. Sovereign wealth funds from Asia and the Middle East are also in a group of 20 or so investors considering first-round offers by mid-February, those familiar with the situation said. Reuters previously reported that Huarong was planning to sell a stake of between 15-20 percent to strategic investors ahead of an eventual initial public offering. Huarong, overseeing total assets of 400.9 billion yuan ($66 billion), is the biggest of China’s four bad loan managers. Huarong’s planned stock offering will let the company raise money to expand its business — acquiring bad loans and forfeited assets from companies unable to repay their lenders. Huarong turns a profit by repackaging the loans and assets and selling them to others.