Prudential Financial announced it has reached an agreement to sell Prudential Life Insurance Company of Korea to Korean financial services provider KB Financial Group for approximately 2.3 trillion Korean won ($1.9 billion).

Prudential Life Insurance was the eleventh-largest insurer in the South Korean market with $17.1 billion in assets last year. The deal is expected to help KB Financial overtake its rival Shinhan Financial Group and become the ninth-largest player in the market.

“Creation of synergy effects will depend entirely on their management strategy,” NH Investment & Securities analyst Boram Cho said.

Prudential hired Goldman Sachs to explore a possible sale for its Korean life insurance business in November, according to local news reports.

The deal drew interest from Fubon Financial Holdings, MBK Partners, Hahn & Company, and IMM Private Equity.

The parties ultimately decided to forgo the usual mergers-and-acquisitions process of designating a preferred bidder and undergoing a due diligence period, according to local reports.

Prudential had an active presence in South Korea for thirty years. The company was reportedly seeking to reduce its overseas holdings ahead of the new U.S. life insurance accounting reforms that will take effect in 2022.

ING Group, Allianz Group, and Prudential PCA have also pulled out of the South Korea market.

“This transaction is consistent with Prudential Financial’s strategic focus internationally on Japan and higher-growth emerging markets around the world,” the company said in a press release.

Prudential said proceeds from the sale are expected to be used for general corporate purposes.

Prudential shares were up more than 6% Friday. The company’s shares have risen 26% in the last five days but are still down 37% year-to-date.

Shares of KB Financial Group were up more than 3.5%.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2020.

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

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