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Royal London pulls out of bid for Axa protection arm

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Royal London has pulled out of a bid for Axa Wealth’s protection business SunLife, Money Marketing can reveal.

In February the mutual entered second round talks to buy the over-50s cover business from the insurer – which is splitting up its UK life operations – but it is understood the firm has walked away from a deal.

Closed book insurer Phoenix is now reportedly the front runner for SunLife. The firm could not be reached for comment.

Axa Wealth was put up for sale by its French parent in August. Initially this was understood to be a bulk deal for the whole business but the firm has since decided to split up the business to speed up the process.

Standard Life today confirmed it is acquiring Elevate, with the combined assets of the enlarged group creating the UK’s third largest platform based on assets under administration.

Last week, the insurer announced it is to offload its Isle of Man-based offshore investment bond business to the Life Company Consolidation Group for an undisclosed sum.

In 2010, Axa sold its UK life and pensions business Friends Provident to Resolution in a £2.75bn deal. Friends Provident became Friends Life, which was in turn sold to Aviva in April last year.

Standard Life, Axa Wealth and Royal London declined to comment.

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