Takeover: Pearl deal earns Cowdery £150m

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Clive Cowdery, the head of Resolution, the life insurer, will pocket more than £150m, after he recommended to shareholders that they accept a £5bn bid for the company from its rival Pearl. It is a huge return for Mr Cowdery, who started the business with a £500,000 loan just four years ago. Resolution decided to back the Pearl takeover bid of 720p per share after Standard Life dropped out of the auction last weekend.

Resolution attracted predators after announcing an unpopular deal to merge with Friends Provident. Speaking this week, Mr Cowdery said that he was happy to have sold the company at the top of the business cycle. However, he is bitter rivals with Hugh Osmond, the founder of Pearl, and fought hard to win approval to merge with Friends Provident.

Standard Life's aborted attempt to buy Resolution casts doubts over the future of the Edinburgh-based group's chief executive, Sandy Crombie, and its chairman, Gerry Grimstone.