Sources close to the situation confirmed that Cowdery has been in talks with Tidjane Thiam, Prudential’s chief executive, about buying the life assets for his consolidation vehicle, the Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday.
It’s understood that any deal would be dependent on Thiam getting the green light from the US government to take on the £15bn Asian assets of the troubled insurer which come under the AIA brand, though.
Resolution has been trying to make the insurance consolidator model work for some time.
Last year, Cowdery acquired Friends Provident in a £2bn deal, and the Telegraph also claims he drew up plans for a break-up of Aviva last November, too – although he “couldn’t make the numbers work”.
Since the Friends Provident acquisition, Resolution hasn’t been able to find any other targets for acquisition, however. A deal with the Pru would enable the fund to add the life assets to its portfolio.
In the past, Cowdery has openly stated that he’s been in talks with 11 insurers about a possible deal, although none have come close to realisation.
“Talks have continued around identifying opportunities which would go very well with Pru’s UK life assets,” said a source close to Resolution. “So this situation is very attractive to Resolution.”
UPDATE: Resolution has now officially denied the Sunday Telegraph’s reports claiming that the firm was in talks over the acquisition of the UK life assurance unit of home insurer Prudential.
"Resolution notes the recent press speculation regarding Prudential plc’s potential acquisition of AIA and a possible subsequent disposal of its UK life assurance operations to Resolution," says a statement. "Resolution confirms that it is not in discussions with Prudential regarding the acquisition of its UK life assurance operations."