Linklaters, Slaughters act as Resolution finally wins Friends Provident

Linklaters and Slaughter and May have taken the key advisory roles as Resolution completes its £1.86bn takeover of Friends Provident.

Sir Adrian Montague

Sir Adrian Montague

Clive Cowdery’s insurance vehicle had an earlier offered for Friends rejected last month, but Friends chairman Sir Adrian Montague today accepted a cash and shares bid.

Resolution turned to Slaughter and May partner Jeff Twentyman, who helped float the company on the London Stock Exchange last year when Cowdery relaunched the Resolution brand after the original business was taken over by rival closed life fund business Pearl for £5bn in 2007.

Friends turned to Linklaters, which also advised on the original Resolution’s approach for Friends in 2007. Then, senior partner David Cheyne acted for the insurer assisted by corporate partner Owen Clay. Clay also advised on the latest deal alongside corporate partner Olivia McKendrick.

Slaughter and May’s role on the Friends deal is a blow for Herbert Smith, which also has a close relationship with Cowdery and advised the original Resolution throughout its five-month takeover battle with Pearl (6 April 2009).

It understood that Slaughters also represented Cowdery earlier this year throughout an Financial Services Authority (FSA) investigation relating to the Pearl takeover. Cowdery was cleared by the investigation.

The Friends deal is the first significant merger for the new Resolution, which is planning to take over at least one other insurance company within three years.