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Phoenix sells Ark Life business for £197m

Phoenix sells Ark Life business for £197m

Life insurer Phoenix Group has sold Ark Life Assurance Company to pension company Irish Life Group in a deal worth £197m (€230m).

According to Phoenix, the deal will simplify its European business and the capital will be reallocated into higher return growth opportunities.

Ark Life is a closed book business which manages heritage savings and protection products in Ireland, and was acquired by Phoenix as part of the ReAssure acquisition in 2020. 

Ark Life contributed £1.8bn of assets under administration to Phoenix's Heritage division as at December 31, 2020.

Irish Life already operates Ark Life's policy administration and investment management under an outsourcing agreement. 

Therefore Phoenix said the deal was a “natural evolution of the existing relationship” which would benefit Ark Life's customers and colleagues.

The deal comes after Phoenix announced last month (June 15) that it would no longer be selling its European business and confirmed that discussions over the potential sale have stopped.

Back in May, the firm confirmed it was in advanced discussions over the sale of the business, in a deal reportedly worth up to £550m.

But it later concluded that selling the business would not maximise shareholder value.

Phoenix Europe covers the life insurance market, with operations across Ireland, Germany and the UK offshore savings market.

Last year (August 5), Phoenix restructured its UK business model and created five new divisions to drive growth in its pensions business.

The five divisions form part of its Open business arm, which manufactures and underwrites long-term savings and retirement products, and runs alongside its heritage arm and newly acquired ReAssure business.

More recently, the group bought the Standard Life brand name in February after it bought Standard Life Aberdeen’s insurance arm in August 2018 for £3.28bn.

amy.austin@ft.com

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