JC Flowers expected to walk away

Friends Provident is not expected to enter takeover talks with JC Flowers unless shareholders applied significant pressure.

On April 15, JC Flowers issued an ultimatum to Friends Provident regarding the private equity group’s 150p per share takeover bid for Friends. JC Flowers said it would withdraw its offer if discussions were not under way by close of play on April 18. Flowers also said it would not increase its offer.

Privately, JC Flowers does not expect Friends Provident to begin talks by the Friday deadline. The ultimatum from JC Flowers was effectively notice that it plans to withdraw.

Should JC Flowers withdraw its offer, it would not be able to make a fresh bid within the next six months, according to Takeover Panel rules.

However, this prospect does not worry Flowers. Friends Provident remains under pressure amid stock market turbulence.