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Equitable extends deadline

Equitable Life is believed to have extended the deadline for bids to give other parties, such as European insurance consortium Eureko, more time to make an offer.

Prudential is still believed to be in poll position to take over the life office. It is also considered to be the only life office with the financial strength to get Equitable out of its guaranteed annuities and unitised with-profits black hole.

The FSA has given Pru the go-ahead to use its orphan assets to fund its bid.

Eureko has not been considered a realistic bidder so far but an internal email from Eureko member firm Friends Provident leaked to Money Marketing acknowled ges Eur eko&#39s serious interest. Friends is known to have ruled out putting any money behind the bid.

Annuities Direct managing director Stuart Bayliss says: “We suspected that there were significant other holes in Equitable other than their guaranteed annuities. Policy holders will get back their suspended bon uses but they should not expect a windfall.”

Equitable Life head of PR Nigel Webb says: “We always said the deadline was the end of November. We expect a statement on which bid is in the best interest of members by mid-December.”

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