JPMorgan would need to pay $1 billion for full ownership of China mutual fund JV

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FILE PHOTO: JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporate headquarters in New York

(This Aug. 25 is refiled to say JPMorgan owns 49%, not 51% of CIFM, in the penultimate paragraph)

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – JPMorgan would need to pay $1 billion for full ownership of its Chinese mutual fund venture, a statement on the Shanghai United Asset and Equity Exchange showed on Tuesday, a price tag that analysts said was expensive.

JPMorgan’s asset management business is to buy a 49% stake in China International Fund Management Co (CIFM), a move which follows Beijing’s decision earlier this year to fully open up the mutual fund industry to foreign companies.

The CIFM stake is priced at 7 billion yuan ($1.01 billion), according to the statement on the Shanghai United Assets and Equity Exchange, where Chinese state-owned equities are auctioned.

Fund consultancy Z-Ben Advisors said that pegged the deal at 50 times earnings, and represented a 52% premium over fair value.

“Based on numerous metrics, there is no question that this is an expensive deal,” Z-Ben Advisors said in a note. The higher-than-expected valuation reflects the scarce opportunities for buying a Chinese fund house outright, Z-Ben said.

“Is it worth the premium? For JP Morgan they’d clearly say yes.”

JPMorgan declined to comment.

China is opening up its capital markets at a faster pace given trade tensions with the United States. Global asset managers including BlackRock and Neuberger Berman applied to set up fully-owned China mutual fund units after regulators in April scrapped foreign ownership restrictions in the fund management industry.

JPMorgan, which owns 49% of CIFM, in April reached an agreement with its Chinese partner, Shanghai International Trust Co, for 100% ownership of the fund venture.

Last December, JPMorgan won Chinese regulatory approval to establish a majority-owned securities venture, and in June got a green light for China’s first fully foreign-owned futures business.

($1 = 6.9116 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Jane Merriman and David Goodman)

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