Cowdery to clinch deal for Friends

CLIVE Cowdery, founder of buyout vehicle Resolution, expects to be toasting a major victory tomorrow when the board of insurer Friends Provident finally supports his takeover offer.<br /><br />Cowdery has had to raise his price to 0.9 new Resolution shares in return for each Friends share acquired, after weeks of wrangling with the board of his target. <br /><br />Resolution shares were worth 88.25p at the market close on Friday, valuing the offer at &pound;1.86bn &ndash; a significant premium to the insurer&rsquo;s market value of &pound;1.64bn before the bid was launched.<br /><br />Cowdery has also made more concessions on Resolution&rsquo;s structure, which was labelled &ldquo;inappropriate&rdquo; by Friends,&nbsp; and in addition to his offer he has added a cash sweetener of around &pound;300m.<br /><br />The Friends board had suggested Resolution&rsquo;s bosses, which also include former FSA head John Tiner, would be plundering too much value from the shareholders under the earlier structure. <br /><br />Cowdery is desperate to get the board&rsquo;s blessing for the deal, to prevent an exodus of Friends&rsquo; top staff.