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Friends Provident and Standard Life merger touted by analysts

Analysts say a merger between Standard Life and Friends Provident could be on the cards after both firms missed out on the Resolution deal.

Keefe Bruyette & Woods says the two companies would be a complementary fit, but says a takeover of Friends by a European firm cannot be ruled out.
In a research note to investors, KFB analyst Greig Paterson has rated Friends shares an outperform saying they will benefit from speculation over a potential acquisition, particularly following the resignation of chief executive Philip Moore.
Paterson adds that sales at Friends’ protection sales and its subsidiary Lombard are expected to weak short term, but this will be offset by takeover speculation.
He says: “There will be significant synergies if Friends Provident and Standard Life tie up, though the new group is likely to have a tight cash flow situation. Out of the European players, Generali’s name is likely to come up as there is some European overlap.”
Friends Provident’s life insurance and top end group pensions franchise are highlighted as long-term winners in the note, despite the long payback period of the pensions products.

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