JC Flowers could walk away from Friends

JC Flowers & Co, could abandon its pursuit of Friends Provident before a deadline at the end of this month to make an offer or walk away, if the embattled life assurer refuses to enter into talks, reports the FT.

JC Flowers has made a £3.5bn (US$6.9bn) cash offer for Friends Provident, and has also called for talks with its board.

However the life assurer, supported by its biggest shareholder, has said that the proposal, which comes in at 150 pence a share and includes the right to receive the final dividend of 5.3p, is too low and there is no basis for talks.

People familiar with the situation told the FT that they believe there is a reasonable probability that JC Flowers will walk away from the bid, possibly even before the April 30 “put up or shut up” deadline, if Friends continues to refuse to talk.