(Peter Dejong)

It appears as though the stage is being set for a bidding war between some of the world’s largest insurers for ING Groep NV’s Asian life-insurance arm.

It has been reported that ING is looking to unload the business for no less than $7B and major insurers are girding for a competitive fight for control.

An alluring conquest for most companies because it is thought to be a sound franchise in the world’s most rapidly growing insurance market, MetLife (MET), Prudential Financial (PRU) and Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC) are all bracing for a competitive bidding session.

MetLife and Prudential have hired Credit Suisse Group and Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit, respectively, to guide them through the bidding process while ManuLife has hired Citigroup Inc.