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Resolution Sees ‘Significant’ Takeover Opportunity

(Adds Independent on Sunday story in fifth paragraph.)

By Kevin Crowley

May 18 (Bloomberg) -- Resolution Ltd., the buyout vehicle started up by Clive Cowdery, said it anticipates “significant” consolidation in the U.K. life insurance and asset management industries over the next 18 months.

“We are fully engaged in assessing and progressing acquisition opportunities,” the Guernsey-based company said today in a statement. Resolution spent about 4 million pounds ($6 million) undertaking due diligence on potential purchases in the first quarter, the statement added.

The Financial Services Authority closed an investigation into Cowdery and four other directors earlier this month, allowing the firm to move forward with plans to buy up and restructure financial assets. In March, the regulator initiated a probe over actions taken by Resolution Plc, Cowdery’s former buyout firm, between October 2007 and May 2008.

During that time Resolution Plc was the subject of a bidding war between Hugh Osmond’s Pearl Group Ltd. and Standard Life Plc. Pearl won and paid 5 billion pounds for Resolution.

Cowdery may be lining up a bid for Osmond’s Pearl Group, the Independent on Sunday said yesterday, citing an unidentified banker. Pearl, which is renegotiating 3 billion pounds of debt with 17 banks, may be taken over by Lloyds Banking Group Plc, its main lender, if it fails to repay 200 million pounds shortly, the newspaper said.

Resolution spokesman Alex Child-Villiers said the buyout firm never comments on individual companies.

Net Assets

Resolution’s short-term investments totaled 649 million pounds ($984 million) on March 31, compared with 653 million pounds at the end of the year. The drop in the value of investments “reflects the payment of the remaining accrued expenses related to the listing,” the company said today. The buyout vehicle, which raised 660 million pounds in an initial public offering in December, said net assets a share were 97.6 pence at March 31.

The stock was unchanged at 98.75 pence at 9:37 a.m. in London trading, valuing the company at 652 million pounds.

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