Insurer Phoenix remains in takeover talks with CVC

British life insurer Phoenix remains in talks with private equity firm CVC Capital Partners over a possible takeover of the company, prolonging discussions which began last November but which have been hampered by debt issues.

Phoenix added in a statement on Monday that it would provide a further update on the situation no later than 28 days from now.

Phoenix, formerly known as Pearl, has been hampered by a heavy debt burden taken on to finance the £5bn acquisition in 2007 of a portfolio of closed life funds put together by Resolution's founder, Clive Cowdery.

Last year, rival insurer Resolution made a failed bid approach for the company, leaving CVC as Phoenix's main suitor.

CVC's move for Phoenix comes amid increased private equity interest in the sector, with Cinven having paid £275m for Aegon's Guardian Life unit in August.