Ignis confirms takeover talks with Standard Life

Standard Life is in “exclusive” talks over a takeover of rival fund manager Ignis Asset Management, both companies have confirmed.

The approach was first revealed in a report in The Sunday Times, which speculated that an offer for the group could be in the region of £400m. Ignis has funds under management of close to £68bn.

The papers adds that a number of bidders were interested in tabling an offer for Ignis, which parent company Phoenix, the closed life consolidator, has been touting for sale in recent months, including Canadian banking group RBC and Australian investment house Macquarie.

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In a statement published on its website yesterday (23 March), Phoenix said: “Following an approach from Standard Life plc, Phoenix Group Holdings confirms that it has entered into exclusive discussions with Standard Life plc, regarding a potential bid for Ignis Asset Management.

“Discussions are at an advanced stage but there is no certainty any transaction will be agreed.”

Phoenix said it will disclose further details on the progression of the talks at the time of its annual results on Wednesday (26 March).

The prospective deal would be the latest merger in a sector that has recently witnessed the buyouts of F&C by Bank of Montreal for £708m and Scottish Windows Investment Partnership by Aberdeen Asset Management for £550m.