UPDATE 2-US Prudential to pick S.Korea units buyer soon -bidder

martes 12 de enero de 2010 08:01 CET

* Hanwha Securities confirms bid for Prudential units

* Hanwha shares down 8.6 pct on concern about capital raising

* Doubt about synergies from Prudential deal -analyst (Recasts with fund manager quotes; updates share price, adds byline)

By Kim Yeon-hee

SEOUL, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Prudential Financial Inc (PRU.N: Cotización) is set to pick a buyer for its South Korean funds and brokerage units by February, in a deal estimated at up to $900 million that could pressure other struggling foreign financial firms to follow suit.

The prospective sale of the units by Prudential, the second-largest U.S. life insurer, underscores the difficulty global fund houses have faced in the country's $300 billion asset management market.

Only a few international names, like Fidelity Investments and Schroders (SDR.L: Cotización), have made headway with offshore funds in South Korea.

With tax breaks on offshore funds having been lifted this year and interest in risky assets cooling after the global credit crisis, foreign asset managers in South Korea face further challenges.

"A few foreign fund houses with strengths in commodities and global networks, such as BlackRock (BLK.N: Cotización) and JPMorgan (JPM.N: Cotización), have been doing well among foreign companies," said Chang In-whan, chief executive of local fund house KTB Asset Management in Seoul.   Continuación...