UK life insurance companies Friends Provident PLC and Resolution PLC are to merge.
The companies' boards have agreed to an all-share combination creating Friends Financial Group PLC, the United Kingdom's fourth-largest insurer with an approximate value of £8.6BN.
The deal is contingent on shareholder and regulatory approval, and is expected to be finalised in the fourth quarter of 2007.
The firms say they expect cost savings of at least £100M, by the end of 2010.
Doubtless the market will be alive with gossip as to other possible mergers.