UK private equity group Cinven has entered into negotiations to purchase Guardian life insurance in an estimated deal of more than £250m.

The Financial Times has reported two people familiar with the sale as saying that the Lancashire-based Guardian was put up for sale by the Dutch life insurer, Aegon.

The sale follows Aegon’s plans to refocus and significantly reduce its cost base after facing administrative errors in Britain and longer life expectancies in the Netherlands.

Other buyers such as Apollo Global Management, Swiss Re and Resolution who showed interest in the deal were left behind in an auction run by Goldman Sachs.

Aegon acquired Guardian, which has a portfolio of policies totalling around £300m, in 1999, according to Reuters.