Aegon has put its Guardian life insurance business up for sale for £250 million, according to The Sunday Times.
The 190-year-old insurance firm is believed to be receiving interest from private equity firms Cinven and Apollo, as well as Swiss Re. Guardian has 500,000 customers and is just one of the brands owned by Aegon, which also controls Scottish Equitable.
Lancashire-based Guardian was acquired by Aegon in 1999 and has a portfolio of life assurance policies worth £300 million. Buyers are expected to offer around 70% of the book in the deal, which is being handled by Goldman Sachs.
Aegon, which saw chief executive Otto Thoresen depart this year, is undergoing tough cost cutting measures, it plans to cut costs by £80 million, or 25%, by the end of the year. New chief executive Adrian Grace (pictured) said if he cannot boost returns the future of Aegon UK will be reviewed.
Grace said in May: 'This is a challenging time of our people and our business but achieving a lower cost base is essential to ensure Aegon remains a strong and successful business in the years ahead.'
There has been a slew of job cuts at Aegon, in May 213 jobs were cut in the life and pensions business. In January this year cutbacks hit high profile names, including head of pensions development Rachel Vahey and head of industry development Peter Williams.
Last November 51 employee benefit and finance positions were axed and in September last year 106 jobs were cut in the sales offices.
Earlier this month Aegon rebranded its asset management arm to Kames Capital to give it a distinct brand from the life company.