Friends Provident, the 177-year-old life insurer, has entered discussions with Resolution after receiving and accepting in principle a revised offer that values the company at £1.86 billion.
Resolution, the buyout company founded by insurance entrepreneur Clive Cowdery, has been trying to buy the insurer for some time. Friends Provident has UK bases in Manchester, Exeter, Salisbury, London and Dorking.
It looks certain that Friends Provident’s existence as an independent entity is over. Resolution is an investment vehicle to buy under-performing financial services firms. Resolution is looking at buying at least three other insurance firms, with Scottish Widows and Clerical Medical tipped as potential targets. The probability is that any other acquisitions would be integrated into Friends Provident, with nothing left, perhaps not even a brand name.
Friends Provident Group plc is a UK-listed life and pensions company, founded in 1832 to alleviate the hardship of Quaker families facing misfortune. Since its demutualisation in 2001, the insurer has struggled to rebuild its UK business so now prioritises international growth.