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Report: Prudential pursuing bidders for UK annuity book sale

Prudential Plc is pursuing bidders for the disposal of a chunk of its U.K. annuities book, Sky News reported Dec. 6.

The firm has asked potential buyers to present offers for one or more portfolios by Dec. 22, "city sources" told the broadcaster, adding that Prudential would increase the value book to be sold out of its £33 billion annuity book to £13 billion from an earlier reported value of £10 billion.

The package will be divided into four tranches comprised of different asset profiles, with "insiders" expecting Legal & General Group Plc, Rothesay Life Plc, Pension Insurance Corp. Plc, Scottish Widows and Aviva Plc to be among the bidders, the report said.

The firm has withdrawn from selling annuities and the transaction is thought to add to expectations of Prudential exiting the U.K. market, Sky News added, noting that the sale process will be closely watched by investors both to see how the proceeds are going to be spent and for signs regarding the company's long-term plans in the British market.

In November, CEO Mike Wells said the profit from the off-loading will be allocated first for organic growth opportunities in Africa and other areas, and then for acquisitions. Any excess capital after organic growth and acquisitions will be returned to investors.