Royal London in 'exploratory talks' for LV= merger

Royal London has confirmed that it is in exploratory talks with LV= over a potential merger, following the failed acquisition of the business last year by Bain Capital.

Members previously voted to reject the acquisition of LV= business by Bain Capital at the Special General Meeting in December 2021, with chairman Alan Cook also confirming his intention to step down at this time.

LV= has now announced the appointment of Seamus Creedon as interim chair, who has since acknowledged member concerns over the proposed acquisition, and confirmed his intention to "continue to develop LV= as a modern mutual insurer".

He stated: "Put simply, our members told us that what they viewed as the modest financial advantages of the transaction, were not worth the loss of ownership and voting rights for our million-plus members.

"My task as interim chairman is to replace valued colleagues with a new chair and directors who will continue to develop LV= as a modern mutual insurer. I will be working closely with Mark Hartigan who has been doing an excellent job in strengthening the performance of the business.

"The board takes full responsibility for the unsuccessful transaction which Mark actively advocated on its behalf and my colleagues and I have high confidence in him and his team.

"Since the vote we've been listening to feedback from our members that many value our brand and proud history as a mutual, and are keen to see these continue.

"We have a strong balance sheet and have refocused our planned IT investment to continue to carefully manage our capital in order to sustain value for members.

"The uncertain course of the pandemic has renewed customers' interest in insurance and income protection and we believe as a mutual in standing ready to meet those needs."

Creedon also emphasised that LV= shares a common interest with Royal London, suggesting that they can "both compete fairly with shareholder-owned firms".

"We have had, and continue to have, discussions with Royal London about if and how we can co-operate to the benefit of both sets of members and the mutual sector," he confirmed.

"In the meantime, we will continue to strengthen our independent business for the benefit of our existing and future policyholders."

In light of LV='s statement, Royal London has now also confirmed that it has had "initial, exploratory discussions with them".

"There is no certainty that these discussions will result in a transaction and a further announcement will be made as and when appropriate,” it said.

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