Fosun International, the investment arm of the mainland's biggest closely held conglomerate, is in talks to acquire a United States life insurance arm of Swiss Re, people with knowledge of the matter said. Fosun was seeking to buy Aurora National Life Assurance for between US$400 million and US$500 million, the people said. A deal had not been reached and the talks could still fall through, they said. Zurich-based Swiss Re began working with Barclays last year to sell Aurora, a life insurance and annuity provider based in Hartford, Connecticut, the people said. Wilton Re, the Bermuda-based reinsurer that is backed by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, had also expressed interest in Aurora, one person said. Fosun Group, backed by Guo Guangchang, is on an acquisition spree that has ranged from Australian energy companies to New York city office buildings. The group, which considers insurance is a key line of business, said it would acquire 20 per cent of Ironshore, the Bermuda-based insurer which filed in June for a US initial public offering. Fosun International, which is publicly traded in Hong Kong, is the primary vehicle for these acquisitions. Fosun also operates a life insurance joint venture in China with Prudential Financial, and acquired 80 per cent of Portugal's Caixa Geral de Depositos's insurance unit in January. Representatives for Swiss Re, Fosun, Canada Pension Plan, and Barclays all declined to comment on the sale of Aurora. A spokesman for Wilton Re did not return a call seeking comment on its interest in Aurora. Swiss Re, which is based in Zurich, has been selling assets as it restructures its global operations. Aurora had more than US$3 billion in assets and serviced more than 88,000 life and annuity policies at June 2012, according to its website. It was part of SRLC America, which Swiss Re sold in 2012 to London-based insurer Prudential.