Daily Insurance Industry News
Daily Insurance Industry News
Monday 15th of October 2018
February 11, 2008

Friends rebuffs JC Flowers’ bid

by Gill Montia

Story link: Friends rebuffs JC Flowers’ bid

Friends Provident is reported to have rejected the latest takeover approach from JC Flowers, the US private equity firm that is keen to acquire all or part of the insurer.

It is understood that JC Flowers is seeking to enter negotiations with Sir Adrian Montague, Friends’ executive chairman, and has hinted that talks would exclude Jim Smart, the group’s finance director.

Such a move would been seen as controversial because Mr Smart played a key role in the strategic review that followed the failure of Friends’ plans to merge with Resolution, the closed life consolidator.

JC Flowers holds a 2.7% stake in Friends and is rumoured to be preparing a bid that values the group at around £4 billion.

However, Friends is currently proposing to sell some of its businesses, including Lombard, its international wealth-management division, its 52% stake in F&C Asset Management and Partheon, its intermediary unit. The proposed disposals could raise around £1 billion.

It is also cutting back its life-insurance business and reducing staff numbers by around 600.

JC Flowers’ interest in Friends began early last year, when it approached Axa, about a potential joint bid.

Friends’ pretax profit for 2007 is expected to be around £20 million, certain one off charges having reduced profit from £509 million in 2006.


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