Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Japan’s third-largest life insurance company by assets, has agreed to acquire 15-20% of Denver-based Janus Capital Group.

The deal commits Dai-ichi to invest $2 billion of its general account into Janus products as well as support Janus’s business initiatives in Japan. Once the transaction is complete, Dai-ichi will also appoint someone to Janus’s board of directors.

Janus CEO Richard Weil hails the alliance as a leap forward in the firm’s development of its regional business. The group’s assets under management total $152.4 billion. Although it has been active in Asia-Pacific for many years, it does not place in AsianInvestor’s top 100 managers of Asia-based client money.

Winning a mandate from Dai-ichi Life will represent a major increase in its AUM sourced from the region. Dai-Ichi’s total assets as of March were ¥33.4 trillion ($407 billion) on a consolidated basis. According to AsianInvestor, the insurer’s general account cash and securities portfolios totalled $318 billion as of 2011.

Janus Capital Group offers investment strategies from three boutiques under the brand’s umbrella: Janus Capital Management, the mathematics-based Intech Investment Management and value shop Perkins Investment Management.

The deal involves Janus Capital Group selling Dai-ichi Life a series of conditional options to buy up to 14 million shares of its common stock. If all of the conditional options are exercised, Janus intends to use the proceeds to repurchase other common shares, to offset dilution, although this would be subject to its discretion.