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Mutual insurer LV= members to get 100 pounds each if they back Bain takeover

By Reuters

By Carolyn Cohn

LONDON – British mutual insurer LV= on Wednesday offered to share out 111 million pounds ($151 million) among its members, giving them 100 pounds each, if they back takeover plans by private equity firm Bain Capital.

Britain’s financial watchdog last week said it raised no objection to the takeover, after a report by an All-Party Parliamentary Group of lawmakers said in April it was very difficult for LV= members to assess if demutualisation was in their best interests or not.

Members of the insurer are due to vote on the 530 million pound takeover on Dec. 10. The deal would end LV=‘s mutual status, meaning it would no longer be owned by members. It would need the backing of 75% of those who vote to go ahead.

LV=, founded in 1843 and formerly known as Liverpool Victoria, also said it would offer an extra 101 million pounds in future “with-profit” policy payout enhancements for all members holding eligible LV= with-profits policies.

With-profits policies, which smooth out highs and lows and are designed to make investments less volatile, will be closed to new customers after the Bain takeover.

The Bain deal was first announced in December 2020, when LV= said it had received 12 formal bids.

“Bain Capital was the only option that offered both an excellent financial outcome for members and gave unrivalled support for the LV= brand, our people and locations,” chairman Alan Cook said in a statement.

LV= CEO Mark Hartigan told Reuters the Bain deal would include an injection of 168 million pounds to support the two existing company defined benefit, or final salary, pension schemes.

The Financial Conduct Authority was critical of LV=‘s communication with members. Hartigan said LV= had been waiting for court and regulatory approvals before being able to provide full details of the deal, but was now holding webinars on it with members and financial advisers.

LV= completed the 1.1 billion pound sale of its general insurance business to German insurer Allianz in January 2020.

($1 = 0.7337 pounds)