Friends Provident does not expect to offload its controlling share in F&C any time soon, as it continues to engage in discussions with a "limited range of buyers".
At the insurer’s annual shareholder meeting, executive chairman Adrian Montague told investors a resolution on Friends’ 52% stake in the asset manager may not be reached before Q3 or Q4.
“The F&C board, working in close conjunction with us, is in discussions with a limited range of buyers. They are at an early stage,” he says.
Last week it was reported Dutch financial services group Rabobank has emerged as a contender to buy Friends’ F&C share, which would trigger a bid for the whole company under stock market rules.
As part of its strategic review released in January, Friends announced it would consider selling its wealth management operations, including the F&C stake, as well as Lombard and Pantheon.
A decision on Pantheon could be made in the coming weeks, while Reuters understands insurer Swiss Life is among suitors considering a bid for Lombard.
Montague also moved to explain Friends' decision to reject the £3.5bn approach from US private equity firm JC Flowers, saying “for now the intention was to chart a course for Friends Provident as an independent company”.IFAonline
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