Friends Provident asks Flowers for formal proposal

The buyout firm is hoping the life insurer’s demands will bring forward discussions.

The stand-off between JC Flowers, the buyout firm led by ex-Goldman Sachs banker JC Flowers, and UK life insurer Friends Provident is likely to lead to a meeting, as it remains uncertain whether a bid will materialise.

Christopher Flowers:
looking forward to
talks with Friends

Friends Provident chairman Adrian Montague said: “We have not to this day received a formal approach from [Christopher Flowers]. We have said to them and to our investors if we receive an approach we will consider it if it is a serious approach.

 “The uncertainty is not helpful to anybody and I would like to call on JC Flowers to make its intentions clear once and for all.”

JC Flowers’ spokesman said: “We find that encouraging and we look forward to having a meeting as soon as possible.”

The buyout firm owns 2.7 percent of Friends Provident and said it was considering a formal bid for the life insurer in January. The firm has repeatedly been linked with a bid for Friends Provident since last year.

Friends Provident’s share price rose by 2.9 percent to £1.28 ($2.58;€1.67) per share at 1143 GMT giving it a market capitalisation of nearly £3 billion.

In December JC Flowers refused to increase its bid for struggling UK bank Northern Rock  having been rejected preferred bidder status by the bank’s board. The bank was subsequently nationalised by the UK government, which had provided it with more than £20 billion in loans.