Banks underwrite rights issue. Aviva shareholders want sale

Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and HSBC have pledged to fully underwrite the £5bn rights issue RSA needs for its bid for the UK, Canada and Ireland operations of Aviva’s general insurance division, the FT reports.

It would be the largest rights issue outside the banking sector since the financial crisis began and would more than double RSA’s current £4.5bn market value.

All good friends

The FT also points out that Aviva’s chief financial officer Pat Regan worked with RSA’s chief executive Andy Haste at GE in Europe. They worked with Clive Cowdery, whose consolidator vehicle Resolution in interested in buying Aviva’s life business.

Haste “played a key role in launching Mr Cowdery’s first Resolution consolidation vehicle by selling him RSA’s UK life businesses in 2003,” the FT says.

Shareholder anger

The Telegraph reports that key Aviva shareholders Standard Life and Royal London Asset Management are demanding that Aviva open talks with RSA over its bid. They are angry CEO Andrew Moss rejected the bid without informing them first.

The Times claims Aviva wants an offer of least £8bn, potentially killing off the deal.