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Change of plan

Phoenix pulls out of talks to sell European unit

Standard Life house

Phoenix now occupies Standard Life House

Phoenix Group has withdrawn from talks to sell its European businesses after deciding the transaction would not maximise shareholder value.

The savings and retirement company said last month that it was in “advanced talks” to sell the unit following interest from at least two potential buyers.

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

However, the group now says its Phoenix Europe unit continues to offer the company “strategic optionality”.

Phoenix Group has overseas operations primarily in Germany and Ireland, following the acquisition of Standard Life Aberdeen’s insurance division in 2018.

In a statement, the company said: “Following its recent announcement dated 18 May 2021, the Board of Phoenix Group Holdings announces that discussions regarding the potential sale of its European businesses have been discontinued.

“The Group received unsolicited expressions of interest for Phoenix Europe and has recently been in advanced discussions with a third party about a potential sale.

“However, the Board has concluded that the transaction under consideration would not maximise shareholder value and therefore discussions have been discontinued.

“Phoenix Europe continues to offer the Group strategic optionality. Phoenix will now progress a range of management actions to maximise shareholder value whilst ensuring we continue to support our customers and colleagues.”

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