JPMorgan has a chance to bid for control of its asset management business in China this month, but it will have to pay up for the privilege.
America’s biggest bank could become the first foreign fund manager to own a majority stake in a Chinese joint venture when its partner puts 2% of the company up for sale.
But it will have to pay a premium of at least 33% for the shares, according to a recent regulatory filing by JPMorgan’s Chinese partner, Shanghai International Trust.
International banks are eying China, where 1.4 billion citizens had investible financial assets of $20 trillion in 2018, according to PwC. That number is expected to grow to $26 trillion by the end of 2020.
Despite recent government moves to open up the sector, new entrants face numerous challenges including regulatory barriers and entrenched local competition.
JPMorgan (JPM) currently owns 49% of China International Fund Management, which has been valued at 9 billion yuan ($1.3 billion), according to the exchange filing.
But the minimum bid price for the 2% stake has been set at 241.3 million yuan ($35.1 million). That would value the entire venture at 12 billion yuan ($1.7 billion), or one third higher.
The premium means JPMorgan will be paying about $9 million more for the stake than it’s currently worth.
JPMorgan declined to comment on the filing. Potential bidders have until July 26 to get involved in the process.
China, the world’s second largest economy, has huge potential for a bank like JPMorgan. CEO Jamie Dimon has said JPMorgan is “all in” on the growing the bank’s business there.
Beijing announced in late 2017 that it would allow foreign investors to own 51% of securities firms, investment managers and life insurance providers, and would remove limits entirely in three years.
The Chinese government said Tuesday that it is willing to go faster.
Premier Li Keqiang, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, said that China will lift foreign ownership caps on such companies one year ahead of schedule.
The announcement comes after President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to restart trade talks at the G20 summit last weekend.