US takeover firm the Carlyle Group is poised to become one of the largest investors in the burgeoning Chinese insurance market having received the go-ahead to by 25% of China Pacific Life Insurance.

Carlyle will now invest $400 million in the Chinese life insurance outfit having attained the backing of its parent company’s board. The deal will be one of the biggest-ever private equity deals in China.

Directors of state-controlled China Pacific Insurance Group voted in favour of allowing the deal to go ahead by a margin of 15 for to four abstentions. The abstainers represented China state-owned Baosteel, which preferred a rival bid from Singapore’s state investment company Temasek.

The decision successfully concludes two years’ work by Carlyle and its partner, US insurer Prudential. The partners’ $400 million will acquire a 25% holding and management control in the life assurance company, with an option to increase their holding to 49%.