A consortium of Allianz and Athora Holding has entered advanced discussions over the potential purchase of Aviva’s French activities, people in the know told Reuters.
According to the sources, negotiations are underway for a deal which could be valued at between EUR 2.00 billion and EUR 3.00 billion.
They said discussions began during the summer, but have not yet reached the stage of exclusivity as Aviva hopes to gauge the interest of other prospective suitors before committing to the approach.
The people noted that JPMorgan and Rothschild are advising the UK-headquartered insurer on the planned divestment.
Reports of a sale of the French business emerged earlier this week, when Bloomberg cited sources with knowledge of the matter as saying Aviva’s new chief executive, Amanda Blanc, planned to offload the unit as part of plans to focus on its UK, Ireland and Canada assets.
The people, who wished to remain anonymous, told the news provider that AXA, Allianz and Athora Holding were among those who could be interested in a purchase.
Reuters’ latest report also named Assicurazioni Generali and La Mondiale among the prospective suitors.
Aviva has now issued a statement saying it is in the early stages of developing a strategy for its European and Asian operations.
None of the other parties named in connection with the proposed transaction have commented.
Aviva provides savings, retirement and insurance services to a customer base numbering 33.40 million.
Its French unit offers life insurance, in addition to property and casualty policies, and is part of the group’s Europe Life division, which serves 8.00 million clients across Italy, Poland, Ireland, Turkey and France.
Aviva recorded adjusted operating profit of GBP 3.18 billion in 2019; of this amount, GBP 473.00 million was attributable to France.
A sale at the suggested EUR 3.00 billion valuation would make the deal the fourth-largest targeting an insurance carrier to have been announced in 2020 so far, Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, shows.
The most valuable at present involves KKR, via its Magnolia Parent vehicle, agreeing to pick up Global Atlantic Financial Group in a deal that can be valued at EUR 3.90 billion (USD 4.40 billion).
© Zephus Ltd