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Lloyds TSB rejects Axa and Swiss Re move for Widows

Lloyds TSB has rebuffed a joint approach from Axa and Swiss Re for its subsidiary Scottish Widows.

It is understood that the two European insurance giants’ £8bn break-up proposals, which would have seen Axa take over the bulk of Scottish Widows, incl-uding Swip, and Swiss Re buying its closed life book, were rejected at an early stage.

Swiss Re has been increa-singly aggressive in the market recently, having just bought GE Life for £465m after missing out on Abbey’s life business, which was bought by Resolution Life for £3.6bn in the summer.

Resolution is also understood to be interested in Scottish Widows but would face stiff competition from pizza to pubs entrepreneur Hugh Osmond’s Pearl Group, which has a £7bn war chest.

The future of Scottish Widows has long been a source of City speculation.

Lloyds bought the group for £7bn in 2000 but is now receiving cash dividends from the group, including £1bn last year.

None of the parties inv-olved would comment.

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