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Royal London swoops for Axa UK protection arm

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Royal London is finalising a bid for Axa Wealth’s protection business, Money Marketing understands.

The mutual is believed to be in second round talks with the insurer, along with several other potential buyers, in a deal insiders estimate at £40m.

In August 2015 Money Marketing revealed the French-owned wealth manager was up for sale.

Royal London is understood to be among several firms interested in the protection part of the business. This includes SunLife, which sells direct-to-consumer cover to the over-50s market.

An industry insider says: “The over-50s bit of Axa Wealth is known as being one of the most profitable parts of the business.

“It’s not a natural component of Axa Wealth and you can see why it would suit Royal London. Effectively they have about five million of their own customers and strategically they are very orientated to selling direct as well as through intermediaries.”

Royal London says it does not comment on market speculation and Axa Wealth could not be reached for comment.

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 this year.

Results published in October 2015 show Axa Wealth grew its new sales by 87 per cent to £5.12bn in the third quarter of this year, driven by new assets flowing to its Architas and platform businesses.

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