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Axa said to plan wealth sales that may fetch £500 million

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Axa SA, France's largest insurer, is in talks to sell most of its UK life-insurance and wealth- investment units, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

[PARIS] Axa SA, France's largest insurer, is in talks to sell most of its UK life-insurance and wealth-investment units, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Axa is likely to sell parts of the businesses, known collectively as Axa Wealth, to separate bidders in deals that may raise £500 million (S$961 million) to £700 million, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Standard Life Plc is bidding for Elevate, Axa's platform for helping UK independent financial advisers manage clients' investments, the people said.

An official for Axa declined to comment and a spokesman for Standard Life, Scotland's biggest insurer, said the company doesn't comment on "market speculation".

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Axa may reach agreements on the sales by the end of this month as it streamlines the UK units. The Paris-based company is also in talks with other bidders to sell SunLife, a UK business that provides life-insurance and funeral-costs coverage for people at age 50 or more, and investment-fund activities on the Isle of Man, the people said.

Axa's UK life & savings business last year had 706 million euros (S$1.08 billion) of revenue, up 9.5 per cent from a year earlier, according to the Paris-based company's website.

Axa last year bought Genworth Financial Inc's unit that provides creditor protection in the UK and other markets.

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