Prudential, Legal & General and Swiss Re are among a pack of insurance giants circling Equitable Life, Britain's oldest mutual insurer, The Telegraph reports.
Equitable has drawn up a shortlist of bidders for the remnants of the former insurance leader, which at its peak was worth £26bn and had 1.5m policyholders.
News of prospective bids for the business comes ahead of this week's publication of a damning report by Ann Abraham, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, who will criticise the Government for its failure to regulate the society properly in the lead-up to its near collapse.
THE FINANCIAL SERVICES conglomerate Dawnay Day has called in administrators from Ernst & Young to carry out an emergency review of several of its businesses after failing to raise the funds it needs to keep the company afloat, according to The Independent.
The group – which operates in the property investment, fund management and private equity arenas, and whose investments include the clothes retailer Austin Reed – has appointed a group led by the E&Y veteran Alan Bloom, the administrator who oversaw the Railtrack file following its collapse seven years ago.
Despite carrying out a £750m refinancing at the start of the year, the worsening conditions in the credit markets have left the group in need of more capital, which it has struggled to secure.
The first signs of the group's difficulties emerged last week when it sold its 20% stake in F&C Asset Management, realising an £80m loss. Days earlier, the company's chairman, Guy Naggar, had been adding to Dawnay's stake in the fund management business. The eventual sell-off sent F&C shares down 28% in a day.
BRITISH BANKS FACE a crucial week, with Bradford & Bingley shareholders due to convene in Sheffield on Thursday to ratify the lender's third attempt at a £400m rights issue in less than two months and many HBOS investors expected to shun the bank's £4bn cash call when it closes at the end of this week, The Guardian reports.
The bank, which owns Halifax and Bank of Scotland, has invited its 2m shareholders to buy extra shares at 275p. Shareholders have until Friday to decide whether to exercise their rights.
But most advisers have informed clients to stay away after the bank's shares sank below the offer price last week, finishing on Friday at 266p.IFAonline
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