Asset talks

Phoenix close to selling former Standard Life assets

Gilbert Clive Bannister Skeoch

The way they were: Standard Life Aberdeen’s Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch flank Phoenix’s Clive Bannister after the asset sale in 2018

Phoenix Group is closing in on a deal to sell its European operations including assets that it acquired from Standard Life Aberdeen.

European Life Group Holding (ELG), an affiliate of San Francisco investment firm Sixth Street, is believed to have beaten Canadian group Great-West Lifec to acquire the assets of Standard Life International in a deal worth £550m.

The board of Phoenix Group last night said it noted recent press speculation regarding the potential sale of its European businesses “and confirms that it is now in advanced discussions in respect of a potential sale.”

It added: “A sale of the European businesses will only be considered if it maximises value for shareholders. Discussions are on-going and there can be no certainty that any transaction will be agreed.”

The Dublin-based businesses are owned by Phoenix Group, the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, which indicated last November that it was considering a sale of its European operations. Daily Business reported earlier this month ELG and Lifec were among those interested.

It bought the life assurance arm of Standard Life Aberdeen for £3.24 billion shortly after the Scottish company was created by a merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2018.

Daily Business report earlier this month

Standard Life Aberdeen later moved 600,000 Irish, German and Austrian customer policies to Standard Life International  which had been set up in the Irish capital to serve customers in the European Union post-Brexit.

Phoenix also moved funds to Standard Life International which became the second-largest life company in the Republic with assets under management growing from €6.85 billion to €28.8 billion in 2019.

ELG is run by Deepak Rajan, a former executive at Athora, a life insurance consolidator established by the private equity giant Apollo Global Management.

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