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Guernsey's Friends Life Acquired By Aviva

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
13 April, 2015

Guernsey-incorporated Friends Life Group Limited was recently acquired by Aviva plc for GBP5.6bn (USD8.2bn), creating the UK's largest insurance, savings, and asset management firm.

The takeover of Friends Life is the largest insurance deal in the UK since the merger of CGU and Norwich Union in 2000 to create Aviva, with Friends Life Group listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. Guernsey law firm Ogier advised Friends Life on the deal, working with international law firm Linklaters LLP.

The acquisition of Friends Life (formerly Resolution Limited), by way of a Guernsey scheme of arrangement, involved Guernsey corporate, competition, and insurance regulatory aspects, and also required approval of the scheme of arrangement from the Royal Court of Guernsey.

The combined group will have some 16m UK customers, equivalent to about one-in-four households, and around GBP340bn of assets under management.

Caroline Chan, Partner at Ogier, said: "The M&A sector here is pretty buoyant at the moment, both in terms of local deals and those on the international stage, such as the Friends Life/Aviva deal, which brings together two well-known insurance businesses. It is the latest in a number of high profile M&A deals that Ogier has advised on."

Ogier Partner Matthew Newman said: "The completion of this transaction required a Guernsey Court sanctioned scheme of arrangement. Guernsey has recently seen a number of relatively high profile schemes of arrangement and this latest example demonstrates how the Guernsey courts are willing to take a flexible, yet (to English and Commonwealth lawyers) relatively familiar, approach, in order to provide a sensible and fair outcome for those involved."

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