And lo, it came to pass: FTSE 100 insurance group Old Mutual has unveiled plans to consciously uncouple into four separate companies, after speculation over the move sent shares soaring on Monday.
In a results statement today, the company said a strategic review by chief executive Bruce Hemphill had concluded it will split into four businesses: Old Mutual Emerging Markets, Old Mutual Wealth, Nedbank (in which it owns a 54 per cent stake) and OM Asset Management.
"We have four strong businesses that can reach their full potential by freeing them from the costs and constraints of the group," it said.
"Our new strategy will allow each business to have simpler access to capital markets to fund its growth more easily and be valued more appropriately, with more straight forward regulatory arrangements."
The new sent shares higher in the first minutes of trading, but they later fell 2.4 per cent, to 180.85p
The company's current market capitalisation, of about £9bn, is thought to be less than the separate value of each of its businesses.
The news came as Old Mutual reported a seven per cent rise in net profits to £931m, while earnings per share rose eight per cent to 19.3p. The company raised its dividend by two per cent, to 8.9p per share.
But now they're about to become bitter rivals, which has contributed most to Old Mutual's profits? Nedbank made £754m, it said, while its emerging markets arm made £615m, its wealth arm made £307m and its asset management arm made £149m. So now we know who will be the favourite child…