Royal Bank of Scotland has seven suitors who are throwing their hats into the ring for its insurance business, potentially sparking a bidding war, as the group looks to offload the insurance arm by the end of the summer.
Front-runners are believed to include Zurich Financial Services, the Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali and China's Ping An Insurance. Other potential bidders are American Insurance Group (AIG), Allstate and Travelers in the US, and Allianz in Germany.
The shortlist is expected to be whittled down to two or three in a few weeks. When the business was put up for sale, more than 15 companies showed interest.
This initial round was not open to private equity firms, as RBS targeted insurance companies that could provide a strategic fit. Buyout firms could link with insurer bidders, or may just wait to see if all the bidders pull out, leaving them to squabble like vultures over a bargain basement carcass.
Life insurance: News update: June 2008