Insurance tycoon Clive Cowdery has apparently written to Friends Provident Chairman Adrian Montague in the last few days, setting out the terms of an all-share deal in which the Friends Provident management team will remain in place, according to the Sunday Times and Telegraph.
The offer could give Friends Provident shareholders a portion of a Resolution share for every Friends Provident share they own. It would value Friends Provident at just above GBP1.41 billion, pretty much bang in line with its current market cap at 60p a share.
The insurer is likely to turn down the idea of a takeover both on the grounds of price and because of concerns about corporate governance at Resolution.
Both parties are expected to make Stock Exchange announcements tomorrow.
Resolution is an investment firm set up to buy up under-performing financial services firms. The move by Resolution signals the start of its aggressive effort to buy three to four life insurers over the next 18 months.
Other targets apparently may include Old Mutual PLC, Legal & General Investment Management, which is a unit of Legal & General Group PLC (LGEN.LN), and Scottish Widows and Clerical Medical, which are owned by Lloyds.
Looks like it may be an amusing battle - watch this space!