Flowers Returns to Provident

JC Flowers has renewed its interest in Friends Provident, and is believed to be waiting for the UK insurer's annual results this week before launching a Gbp3.5bn (US$7bn) bid.

Reports in February suggests that JC Flowers, which was previously connected with the auction for Northern Rock, had lined up financing for a Friends Provident tilt from HBOS, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and the Royal Bank of Scotland. A debt package of Gbp1.5bn was suggested at the time.

A slightly lower bid may be forthcoming, however, based on expectations that Friends Provident will post significantly lower profits than last year.