According to media releases, Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services is set to launch a bid for UK financial services group Friends Provident, which has recently entered into an GBP8.6 billion merger deal with UK life insurer Resolution.

According to the Financial Times, the Swiss insurance specialist has been mulling over the idea of a takeover approach for a while, as have a number of other financial institutions, after the largest shareholder in Resolution, Pearl, objected to the merger deal. The publication revealed that Old Mutual, Aviva and JC Flowers have also shown an interest in Friends Provident.

Media reports have revealed that Zurich needs to launch an offer higher than GBP2 per share, valuing Friends Provident at more than GBP4.3 billion.

According to Bloomberg, the UK is already Zurich’s second largest life insurance market and, with the purchase of Friends Provident, the German group could see its UK life and pensions business almost double.