UK insurer Phoenix Group is reportedly the leading potential buyer of Axa’s Bristol-based insurance business SunLife.
The Financial Times
reported that a deal could be reached next week though insiders have said nothing had been completed.
SunLife, offers life assurance to individuals aged over 50. According to the report, Axa is selling the business for as much as £500 million.
Besides Phoenix, another major player that is reportedly following the sale of SunLife is Swiss Re, which beat Phoenix in the £1.6 billion purchase of Guardian Financial Services in 2015.
With a market capitalisation of £2 billion, Phoenix focuses on buying life assurers that no longer take new clients. The insurer has made known of its desire to acquire other firms for its expansion.
Phoenix is also bidding for Abbey Life, a life assurer based in Bournemouth that is being sold by Deutsche Bank.
While Phoenix has been on the lookout for acquisitions in the UK, SunLife’s parent company Axa is aiming to completely exit the UK life assurance market, selling three businesses.
Axa, which is among the biggest insurers in Europe, has been in talks with different bidders for each of the businesses, the largest of which is SunLife.
The French insurer is also the investment platform Elevate and is advanced talks with Standard Life, Bloomberg
Axa is also selling its Isle of Man-based investment operation, for a reported amount of £200 million.