Executives at Prudential P.L.C. are rejecting a $30 billion bid from a larger rival, Aviva P.L.C., saying the offer is too low.
Some analysts are asking whether the British Prudential, which has no connection with Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., could end up luring a bidder who will beat Aviva’s price.
“The ghost to this particular feast is the prospect of a third-party bid,” says Bruno Paulson, an analyst in the London office of Sanford Bernstein & Company.
Analysts have identified AXA S.A., Paris, and American International Group Inc., New York, as possible suitors for the British Prudential.
Representatives for AXA and AIG declined to comment.
If AIG ends up playing the role of the white knight, that might make for an interesting coincidence.
In 2001, after shareholders of the British Prudential complained when Prudential announced plans to acquire American General Corp., Houston, AIG entered a higher bid and ended up getting American General.