IFGL - the company behind well-known international financial services product provider RL360 - has this morning completed its purchase of Friends Provident International bringing to close one of the industry's longest-running dramas.
The £259m ($326.2m) deal, has finally secured regulatory approval, and will bring the two international financial services giants together, opening up additional markets, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, for both outlets as a result.
The terms of the deal have been finalised with former majority shareholder Aviva retaining a reduced stake in FPI and IFGL taking over as the main stakeholder with 76% for the price of £259m, of which £209m is in cash and £50m in deferred cash considerations.
Other people had their opinions on whether it was on or off, but we were never worried and we are extremely pleased that it has now been concluded and we can get on with things."
Speaking to International Investment IFGL and RL360 CEO David Kneeshaw, pictured above, said that despite the acquisition taking more than three years to be concluded, he was never in any doubt that it would go through.
"Other people had their opinions on whether it was on or off, but we were never worried and we are extremely pleased that it has now been concluded and we can get on with things," Kneeshaw said.
Click on the video below to view a revealing interview conducted by II's Gary Robinson where Kneeshaw outlines how this landmark deal was finalised and talks about it means for both FPI and RL360.
Isle of Man headquarters
The deal will see both brands continue to operate and both companies retain their head offices in the Isle of Man. Kneeshaw said that he expected that there will be integration between the two companies but that the executive team would operate out of RL360's headquarters just outside of Douglas, while the main administration team would work out of the FPI's Castletown headquarters.
"I'm pleased to say that Aviva has sold FPI to IFG Group, more commonly-known as RL360 by advisers and their customers, under the announcement made by ourselves and Aviva today," Kneeshaw confirmed.
"76% of the shares will be owned by IFG and Aviva will keep a small stake - not dissimilar to the stake that Royal London kept after our management buy-out - for a period of time to be agreed by both parties."
It is not known whether there will be any redundancies at this stage, either brought about by the deal or by the ongoing global pandemic.
The statement released by IFGL/RL360 this morning read: "IFGL is pleased to announce that the deal to acquire Friends Provident International (FPI) from Aviva has completed and FPI is now part of IFGL. "
Kneeshaw added: "I am delighted that the acquisition has completed and we can now focus on our exciting plans for FPI and IFGL. I believe strongly the deal will benefit FPI's policyholders, financial advisers and staff.
"While integrating FPI into IFGL will be a key priority over the coming months, our growth strategy remains unchanged. We will continue to look for opportunities to grow both organically and through further acquisition.
"We will be announcing our exciting plans for IFGL over the coming weeks."
IFGL comprises RL360, RL360 Services, Ardan International and now Friends Provident International. The group employs over 700 staff and administers assets of £17 billion for over 230,000 customers (all figures as at 31 December 2019).