A stock market rumor has suggested that Italian insurance giant Generali is considering an audacious takeover bid for Aviva, the UK-based owner of Norwich Union.

According to reports, Generali has appointed HSBC to advise it on a possible bid for the similarly sized UK company. However, analysts feel that the Italian company is likely to delay any such move until Aviva has resolved its own GBP1.5 billion takeover of US-based insurance and annuity provider AmerUs.

Despite analyst’s reservations about the likelihood of such a move taking place, shares in Aviva rose slightly on the speculation.

Generali, Italy’s largest financial institution, currently seems to be on the acquisitions path after it recently bought Toro, a smaller Italian insurer, for GBP3 billion. Meanwhile, speculation suggests that Aviva is continuing to flirt with the possibility of a GBP17 billion merger with Prudential.