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Osmond ups HHG offer to hold off Resolution

Hugh Osmond’s Life Com-pany Investor Group has inc-reased its offer for HHG Life Services in return for HHG cutting off negotiations with Resolution Life.

LCIG has increased its bid for the four closed life books within HHG – NPI, Pearl, National Provident Mutual and London Life – from 1.025bn to 1.07bn.

If HHG breaks the exclusivity agreement, it will have to pay LCIG 45m in compensation – the same amount as the increase in its offer.

Resolution has not tabled a formal bid for HHG Life Services but did make a provisional offer of 1.15bn.

HHG was unhappy that the offer was not formalised and as such it was unable to scrutinise how the deal would be funded.

LCIG was understood to be uncomfortable with Resolution’s wooing of HHG Life Services and the exclusivity runs until August 31.

However, the key date remains February 21, when shareholders will vote on the LCIG proposals which are being unanimously recommended by the HHG board.

Resolution would have either to table a formal offer of sufficient size for it to be worth HHG shelling out the 45m compensation payout to LCIG or to attempt a hostile takeover of the whole of HHG, which is something it has previously ruled out because it says it is only interested in the life services part of the business.

HHG chief executive Roger Yates says: “The HHG board had a straightforward choice – delivering shareholder value by accepting the certainty of the existing agreement with improved terms or taking a gamble on Reso-lution Life’s proposal and risk LCIG walking away from the deal.”

LCIG and Resolution dec-line to comment.

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