Pearl, Deutsche last Abbey Life bidders: sources

July 30, 2007 - 0:0

LONDON (Reuters) -- Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and UK insurer Pearl Group are in the final round of bidding for bank Lloyds TSB’s (LLOY.L) closed Abbey Life insurance unit, sources close to the matter said, confirming a Sunday newspaper report.

The outcome of the bidding for Abbey Life, worth about 900 million pounds ($1.83 billion), could be announced as early as this week, the sources said. Lloyds is due to report first-half earnings on Tuesday. Reinsurer Swiss Re (RUKN.VX) and closed life fund specialist Resolution (RSL.L) were also named as bidders earlier in July. Since then, however, Resolution has announced an 8.6 billion pound all-share merger with rival Friends Provident (FP.L). The Sunday Telegraph reported that Swiss Re had also pulled out. Pearl has built an almost 16 percent interest in Resolution since the tie-up with Friends was announced, saying that deal did not maximize value. It is now considering options including a bid for Resolution, in which it holds the largest interest, a source close to the matter said last week. A move for Resolution, however, would not put an end to Pearl’s interest in Abbey Life, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday. “In terms of the money involved, this is not enormous,” the source said. The value of Abbey Life’s policies is about 1 billion pounds ($2.03 billion), and such business typically sells for between 85 and 90 percent of book value. Lloyds TSB, Pearl and Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Swiss Re was not available for comment