Ogier has advised Friends Life Group Limited, a London-listed Guernsey company, on its acquisition by Aviva, a deal which has created the UK's largest insurance, savings and asset management firm.
The combined group will have some 16 million UK customers – equivalent to about one in four households – and around GBP340 billion of assets under management. The GBP5.6 billion takeover of Friends Life is the largest insurance deal in the UK since the merger of CGU and Norwich Union in 2000, which created Aviva.
Ogier has been working with international law firm Linklaters LLP to bring the transaction to completion. The acquisition of Friends Life (formerly Resolution Limited), by way of a Guernsey scheme of arrangement, has involved Guernsey corporate, competition and insurance regulatory aspects, as well as work required to obtain approval for the scheme of arrangement from the Royal Court of Guernsey.
Ogier partner, Advocate Caroline Chan led the Guernsey deal team, which included managing associate Andrew Munro. Ogier partner Advocate Mathew Newman, with assistance from managing associate Sally Peedom and associate Erin Trimble-Cregeen, advised and appeared in the Royal Court for Friends Life on its scheme of arrangement applications.
Chan says: “The M&A sector here is pretty buoyant at the moment both in terms of local deals and those on the international stage, such as the Friends Life/Aviva deal, which brings together two well-known insurance businesses. It is the latest in a number of high profile M&A deals that Ogier has advised on.”
Newman says: “The completion of this transaction required a Guernsey Court sanctioned scheme of arrangement. Guernsey has recently seen a number of relatively high profile schemes of arrangement and this latest example demonstrates how the Guernsey courts are willing to take a flexible, yet (to English and Commonwealth lawyers) relatively familiar, approach, in order to provide a sensible and fair outcome for those involved.”