WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. panel that reviews foreign investments for potential national security threats has approved China Oceanwide Holdings Group’s [OWREAC.UL] purchase of insurer Genworth Financial (GNW.N), the two companies said on Saturday.
The United States in recent years has blocked many proposed Chinese investments in American companies in an effort to stop China from acquiring important technologies, making this approval a rare win.
The deal had been stalled over concerns by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) about Chinese access to sensitive U.S. personal data. CFIUS has become increasingly skeptical of high-tech deals involving China in particular and has blocked transactions that would have given it access to sophisticated semiconductors or data of American citizens.
CFIUS has gone from virtually unknown several years ago to front-page news in March as one of its probes resulted in Trump forbidding chipmaker Broadcom Inc (AVGO.O), which was in the process of moving back to the United States, from buying rival Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O).
Oceanwide agreed in October 2016 to pay $2.7 billion in cash, or $5.43 per share, to acquire Genworth. Genworth currently trades at $3.81 per share.
In order to gain CFIUS approval, Genworth said it will use a U.S.-based, third-party service provider to manage the data of its U.S. policyholders.
Earlier this year CFIUS rejected Ant Financial’s plan to acquire U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc(MGI.O) because the companies could not mitigate concerns over the safety of data that can be used to identify U.S. citizens, according to sources familiar with the confidential discussions.
Ant is owned by executives of Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd(BABA.N).
Reporting by Chris Sanders; Editing by Susan Thomas and Nick Zieminski