Friends Rejects Pounds 3.5bn Offer from JC Flowers
Farrell, Sean, The Independent (London, England)
Friends Provident has rejected a 3.5bn takeover proposal from JC Flowers, the US buyout firm that has been stalking the British insurer since the end of last year. Friends said yesterday that JC Flowers' 150p-a-share indicative cash approach "significantly undervalues Friends Provident ... and its prospects and does not represent a basis for discussion".
The proposal was subject to due diligence and indicated that the price would be reduced if Friends paid shareholders the 2007 final dividend of 5.3p a share, the company said.
JC Flowers, headed by the billionaire former Goldman Sachs partner Christopher Flowers, revealed in January that it had bought a 2.7 per cent stake in Friends and said it might make a bid. The turnaround specialist had previously considered a bid for Northern Rock to spearhead its move into UK financial services.
Friends had grown increasingly irritated with JC Flowers and said last month that the uncertainty over its intentions was damaging Friends' business. It is understood Friends Provident asked the Takeover Panel last week to tell JC Flowers to make its intentions clear. …