Source AP ©

Standard Life wants to buy insurer Resolution

Resolution PLC, a British insurer, announced Thursday it had received a preliminary takeover approach from rival Standard Life PLC.

The announcement to the London Stock Exchange was in response to media speculation about an offer. It confirmed market expectations of a counterproposal to that of Pearl Group Ltd., which has already had two preliminary approaches rejected by Resolution.

Resolution said that it had received a proposal from Standard Life offering 517 pence (US$10.59; EUR7.44) a share in cash and 0.715 Standard Life shares for each Resolution share. It added that it had made no decision about the proposal.

The offer is around 25 pence (US$0.51; EUR0.36) per share higher than the all-cash offer of 691 pence (US$14.14) per share offer from Pearl.

Resolution shares were down 0.1 percent at 706 pence (US$14.47; EUR10.17) in early afternoon trading.

Standard Life had until Thursday afternoon under regulatory requirements to come forward with an offer for Resolution or to opt to walk away.

The offer further complicates Resolution's proposed US$7.5 billion (EUR5.27 billion) takeover of Friends Provident PLC. Pearl has already objected to that deal.

Resolution and Friends Provident moved to bolster shareholder support for the deal on Wednesday, ahead of the takeover bid deadline, by promising to return around US$4.1 billion (EUR2.88 billion) to shareholders of the combined company.

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