What happened

On a turbulent day for the stock market, insurer Genworth Financial (GNW -0.85%) is among the biggest winners. As of noon EST, the insurer's shares are about 13% higher on the day.

The reason is that the long-awaited acquisition of Genworth looks like it may actually happen. Without getting too deep into the details, Genworth and proposed acquirer China Oceanwide Holdings have reached an agreement in principle with the New York State Department of Financial Services, which is one of the few remaining roadblocks for the acquisition.

Man with fist raised in the air in celebration.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

To be clear, shareholders have been waiting for a long time for the acquisition of Genworth to go through.

It was originally announced in October 2016, so it's been more than three years of uncertainty for shareholders. The deadline to get regulatory approval for the deal was extended several times, and at some points it seemed highly unlikely that it would happen.

Now that the latest hurdles have been overcome, the deal still needs the approvals of other regulators in both the U.S. and China. But management seems optimistic and is targeting a closing date of March 31.

Now what

Take this news with a grain of salt. As mentioned, the deal has been delayed many times, and it's not inconceivable for the companies to encounter more resistance.

But patient investors could be handsomely rewarded if the deal finally goes through. Even after today's gain, the proposed acquisition price represents a 15% premium over Genworth's share price. On the other hand, if the deal falls through or continues to be delayed, Genworth could easily give up all of today's gain and more.