Afetr considerable speculation in recent months, South African insurer Old Mutual has formally launched its GBP3.2 billion bid to acquire rival Skandia,despite boardroom opposition from the Swedish firm.

London-listed Old Mutual has finally launched a takeover bid for Skandia after a long and drawn out courtship, despite still facing boardroom opposition at its target. Old Mutual has issued an offer valuing the Scandinavian business at SKR44.9 billion, equivalent to $6.04 billion. Old Mutual appears confident that shareholder backing will see it through.

The bid comes at a time when the South African insurer is looking to reduce its dependence on its homeland. The insurer has been in talks with Skandia, which has substantial interests in the Nordic and UK markets, since May.

If the buy-out plan is successful, the combined company would be valued at GBP7.9 billion and have a significant presence on two continents. Reportedly, the majority of Skandia’s board is opposed to the take over because of Old Mutual’s connection with the Zimbabwean regime of Robert Mugabe. At a recent board meeting only three Skandia directors were reported to be in favor of a bid, while eight were against.