F&C's share price plummeted nearly 15% this morning after weekend reports suggested majority owner Friends Provident was about to start a demerger.
The FT reported the insurer was ready to start distributing its shares in F&C to Friends’ investors next week, while it was also continuing talks with potential buyers of its 52% stake in the asset manager.
Early last month new Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews admitted the sale of F&C remained on track, but the insurer would not sell unless the price was right. Rabobank is seen as a potential bidder for F&C.
Friends’ shareholders are understood to have given only a “lukewarm reception” to the idea of receiving F&C shares.
In August, F&C chief executive Alain Grisay hit out at the continued uncertainty surrounding Friends Provident’s ownership in the firm, saying the speculation has hindered the fund manager’s ability to gather new assets.
F&C’s share price has improved slightly, now down 9.55% to 35.5p. Friends’ shares remain flat today at 54p.
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