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Aviva takes 1.6bn leap into the US

Norwich Union’s parent company Aviva has moved into the American long-term savings market by buying the AmerUs Group for 1.6bn.

The deal follows Aviva’s failed bid to buy Prudential for 16.9bn in March.

The AmerUs cash deal will be financed by a 900m equity placing, internal resources and debt. AmerUs is ranked number one in the US in sales of equity-indexed life insurance and number three in sales of equity-indexed annuities. It will be merged with Aviva USA and the combined team will be led by AmerUs chief executive Tom Godlasky.

Aviva group ceo Richard Harvey says: “AmerUs is a well managed, innovative and fast-growing business. This acquisition establishes a leadership position within a key segment of the world’s biggest long-term savings market. In a single move, the combination of AmerUs’s national distribution networks and resources and expertise of Aviva, provides the platform for significant profitable growth in the US.”

IFAs fear the move could mean Aviva and NU will focus on business abroad rather than in the UK. Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says: “Aviva has made it clear that its priorities lie abroad, particularly in the US.”

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