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Deadline looms for bidders in Irish Life takeover battle

THE takeover battle for Irish Life, the life assurance arm of Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P), steps up this week as the deadline for the first round of bids draws to a close.

Insurers Allianz, Axa and Met Life are believed to be among those likely to make a bid for the company, along with private equity players.

Irish Life has been valued at about €1.7bn, but the price fetched is expected to fall way short of that. "No outside institution would offer such a sum," according to one insurer. Industry sources believe the sale could raise as little as €1bn for the Government.

Any money raised would be used to plug the €4bn capital shortfall in IL&P. The company has until October to raise that €4bn.

If a trade sale is not successful, Irish Life could be launched on the stock market -- but only if such a move raises more money than a trade sale.

IL&P is expected to become the fifth Irish bank to fall under State control shortly. The Government must go to the High Court to take over IL&P after shareholders in the company voted against plans to take over the bancassurer last week.

Sunday Indo Business