(Reuters) - British life insurer Friends Provident has agreed to talks with suitor Resolution after receiving a revised offer valuing it at 1.9 billion pounds.
Following are some facts about Resolution and Friends Provident:
* Based in the corporate tax haven of Guernsey, Resolution Limited was floated to acquire businesses in the life assurance, asset management, general insurance, banking and diversified general financial sectors in Britain and the rest of Europe.
* The buy-out vehicle of insurance entrepreneur Clive Cowdery has a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange and it raised 600 million pounds from investors when it listed in December.
* The value of the company’s short term investments at March 31 was 649 million pounds.
* The company has outsourced most of its operating functions, including the identification and assessment of acquisition opportunities to Resolution Operations, a Financial Services Authority (FSA) authorised, UK limited liability partnership.
* The company has no employees, pension schemes, share schemes or other long term incentive plans. Directors are remunerated on a fee only basis.
* Cowdery’s previous venture, also called Resolution, was sold to rival Pearl in 2007 for about 5 billion pounds.
* Friends Provident Group Plc is a UK-listed life and pensions company, founded in 1832. Its products fall into four broad categories - protection, investments and savings, pensions, and inheritance tax. Its key business lines in Britain are protection and corporate pensions.
* The smallest of Britain’s blue-chip insurers, it had funds of 98.6 billion pounds under management as at the end of 2008. The company employs 3,600 people.
* Friends Provident reported a 40 percent sales slump for the three months to the end of March. Total life and pensions sales for period was 109 million pounds.
* In 2008, it launched an overhaul of the group to cut costs and refocus on high-margin life and pensions business after a planned merger with Cowdery’s first Resolution venture fell through.
* The overhaul included the disposal of its Luxembourg-based wealth management unit Lombard and its 52 percent stake in British asset manager F&C, but both sales were eventually pulled as the economic environment deteriorated.
Writing by Jijo Jacob, Bangalore Editorial Reference Unit; editing by David Cutler and Karen Foster