Shares in British insurer Prudential jumped over 10 percent on Wednesday after Ping An was reported to be close to taking a $13.8 billion stake in it amid mounting talk China's insurers are looking to invest in western peers.
A report in Chinese business newspaper 21st Century Business Herald said it was likely that Ping An would invest 100 billion yuan to take a non-controlling stake in Prudential, citing an unnamed source.
It also quoted an unnamed senior Prudential executive in Asia as saying he believed "it would be acceptable" for Ping An to buy a minority stake in Prudential.
Prudential declined to comment.
Ping An spokesman Sheng Ruisheng said: "We have no information which should be disclosed according to exchange rules, that we have not already disclosed." He declined to comment further.
Speculation that Ping An or its domestic rival China Life could target Prudential or other western firms has swirled in recent months.
"The company (Ping An) and China Life have both said they are looking to invest in Europe and the U.S. but I think this is very speculative," said Tim Young, analyst at Collins Stewart.