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China Oceanwide seeks more time for U.S. approval of Genworth deal

By David French

April 28 (Reuters) - China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co said on Friday it had refiled its application for U.S. approval of its $2.7 billion acquisition of life insurance company Genworth Financial Inc, in a bid to add more time to the regulatory review.

The two companies said they withdrew and relaunched their submission to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a secretive U.S. government panel that scrutinizes acquisitions for national security concerns.

Closing of the transaction still is targeted for the middle of 2017, the companies said in statement.

Genworth's and China Oceanwide's refiled CFIUS application triggers a new 30-day review period by the government body, with the possibility of a further 45-day investigation period, the statement added.

China Oceanwide, a Beijing-based investment firm founded by low-profile but well-connected billionaire Lu Zhiqiang, agreed in October to pay $2.7 billion in cash for all Genworth shares, plus a further $1.12 billion to cover debt belonging to the U.S. insurer which was spun out of General Electric in 2004.

It was a further example of Chinese investment into the U.S. financial sector, stemming from a desire among Chinese firms to diversify away from their home market. But not all such deals have been successful.

Earlier this month, Fidelity & Guaranty Life, a U.S. annuities and life insurer, said it has terminated its agreement to be acquired by China's Anbang Insurance group. While it secured assent from CFIUS, the deal failed to garner approval from two U.S. states. (Reporting by David French in New York)