Too soon to write off Aviva’s £5.6bn bid for Friends Life - Editor’s Letter

David Hellier
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Aviva’s New Zealand-born chief executive Mark Wilson
Aviva’s New Zealand-born chief executive Mark Wilson comes from a family of insurance people and has been an in­vestor in insurance companies since he was 15.

Maybe it’s that pedigree that gives him the confidence to press ahead with a strategy that is being doubted by many experts.

When he first came into Aviva, he halved its dividend in the early part of last year to some consternation from investors to concentrate on a strategy of cash flow and growth. Shares have since risen from 425p to around 500p.

Wilson’s current £5.6bn bid for Friends Life has not been welcomed universally, but he is said not to be perturbed.

In the next few days he will set out the advantages of doing the deal and advisers say these are huge. Don’t write this one off just yet.

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