Phoenix ends talks to sell European businesses

Phoenix Group-Standard Life office in Lothian Road, Edinburgh

Closed life and pension fund consolidator Phoenix Group Holdings plc, owner of the “old” Edinburgh-based Standard Life Assurance, said on Tuesday that talks to sell its European businesses “have been discontinued.”

Standard Life Aberdeen sold Standard Life Assurance Limited to Phoenix Group Holdings for £3.28 billion in August 2018.

Standard Life Aberdeen, currently changing its name to Abrdn, retains a 14% stake in Phoenix Group.

“Following its recent announcement dated 18 May 2021, the board of Phoenix Group Holdings plc announces that discussions regarding the potential sale of its European businesses (Phoenix Europe) have been discontinued,” said Phoenix.

The group received unsolicited expressions of interest for Phoenix Europe and has recently been in advanced discussions with a third party about a potential sale.

“However, the board has concluded that the transaction under consideration would not maximise shareholder value and therefore discussions have been discontinued.

Phoenix Europe continues to offer the group strategic optionality.

“Phoenix will now progress a range of management actions to maximise shareholder value whilst ensuring we continue to support our customers and colleagues.”

As part of that announcement, the asset management partnership of SLA and Phoenix was extended to at least 2031 — compared to the original arrangement which was up to 2028.