The long-running discussions relating to the regulatory rubber-stamping of the £340m (US$444m) deal between Aviva and RL360 parent International Financial Group Ltd (IFGL) over the purchase of Friends Provident International (FPI) has been extended.
Originally the long stop date extended from January to 31 March, but having failed to complete in time the date has been extended. It is understood that the new deadline could now be the end of April, or possibly longer, with the Hong Kong regulator providing the main stumbling block.
A spokesperson for RL360 parent International Financial Group Ltd (IFGL) confirmed that the regulatory extension has been granted and said: "We are continuing to work with Aviva to see the conclusion of this deal", but refused to comment any further on the matter.
"Should the purchase not go through, like many others, we would be interested in considering the proposition as part of our ongoing and ambitious horizontal and vertical growth programme" - DeVere Group spokesperson
International Investment can also exclusively reveal that in a dramatic twist, should the deal between Aviva and IFGL not be completed, then an alternative plan - involving a possible consortium bid led by Nigel Green, CEO and founder of international financial services giant deVere Group is being readied.
A spokesperson for DeVere Group, said: "We hope that the acquisition of FPI by RL360 is successful as we believe that they will prove to be a powerful partnership to further enhance future client offerings.
"Should the purchase not go through, like many others, we would be interested in considering the proposition as part of our ongoing and ambitious horizontal and vertical growth programme."
As reported in July 2017 Aviva agreed to sell Friends Provident International (FPI) to RL360 parent International Financial Group Ltd (IFGL) for £340m (US$444m), but the rubber stamping of the deal has proven more troublesome that was originally hoped.
The deal was seen as a coup for the Isle of Man firm after months of speculation and the £340m (US$444m) purchase price, is however, significantly lower than the £576m (US$750m) that some industry sources predicted in 2017.
Once regulatory approval has been attained the acquisition will comprise £310m in cash receivables and a £30m deferred consideration in the form of preference shares in IFGL, the company said at the time
FPIL said that it had £7.6bn in funds under management at the time that the deal was originally announced and its addition to IFGL will take the group's combined assets to £15.9bn and its policies to 250,000.
David Kneeshaw, pictured left, IFGL's chief executive, who has refused to comment on any speculation or rumours surrounding the deal said at the time that the deal was originally announced: "Welcoming FPIL to the IFGL Group's already impressive stable fits with our stated long-term goal of high-quality acquisitions to complement our existing international business.
"FPIL's strong franchise and its branch structure make the business an ideal fit with IFGL and we see significant opportunities for the businesses to work together and grow.
"The acquisition is an important milestone in our history".
500 staff worldwide
FPI, which employs around 500 staff worldwide and services in the region of 180,000 policies, has its head office in the Isle of Man, where IFGL is also headquartered.
FPIL has more than 35 years of international experience providing savings, investment and protection products to customers across the globe, with a particular expertise in Asia and the Middle East.
IFGL was formed in October 2013 to support the management led buyout of RL360 Insurance Company Limited (RL360°) from the Royal London Group, with the support of its financial backers Vitruvian Partners.
IFGL has a consistent record of growth in recent years having acquired CMI Insurance Company Ltd (now branded RL360 Services) in 2015 and wealth platform Ardan International the following year.