Axis looks to foray into life insurance business

NEW DELHI: Axis BankBSE 3.41 % is looking to acquire a life insurance business, said people with knowledge of the development. The bank’s executive committee had approved the move in the December quarter, they told ET. Among possible targets are IDBI Federal Life Insurance and Tata AIA, they said.

“The bank has appointed a leading USbased investment bank to scout for a suitable midsize player that can be acquired,” said one of the persons. “It has already submitted a bid for IDBI Federal Life Insurance, which is on the block.”

With a strong retail franchise and bancassurance experience with partner Max Life Insurance, in which it has a 4.99% stake, Axis Bank is well placed to explore insurance opportunities, another person said. Axis Bank raised about Rs 11,700 crore from Bain Capital through a sale of shares and warrants in November last year. However, any acquisition will be through equity, said the persons cited above.

Axis Bank’s decision was triggered by Max’s promoters seeking to exit life insurance through a merger with HDFC Life Insurance, although this move later collapsed. However, after Axis Bank bid for IDBI Federal Life Insurance, preliminary talks did take place with Max.

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