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Friends Life founders sell $243 Million stake in Aviva

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(Bloomberg) — Friends Life Group Ltd.’s founders, among them Clive Cowdery, sold 164 million pounds ($243 million) of Aviva Plc stock, a week after investors approved the biggest takeover in the insurance industry in 15 years.

Resolution, the firm controlled by Cowdery and his partners, received a 220 million-pound stake in Aviva when Friends Life, the company they created in 2008, agreed to be bought by Aviva last year.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sold 30.8 million Aviva shares for the group for 532 pence apiece on Tuesday, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

“Resolution has sold a portion of the value share to meet charitable donations, distributions to employees and costs, including tax,” a spokesman said by e-mail. Cowdery personally still has a “significant” Aviva holding, he added.

Shareholders of both Friends Life and Aviva last week approved the takeover, the biggest deal in the U.K. insurance industry since Aviva was created. Friends Life was created as Cowdery merged Friends Provident, Axa SA’s U.K. life insurance unit and Bupa Health Assurance Ltd.

Aviva fell 1.7 percent to 540 pence in London trading today for a market value of almost 16 billion pounds.

—With assistance from Gaurav Panchal in London.