Phoenix Group will not sell off its European business after advanced sales discussions were discontinued, it has confirmed. 

In May, the group confirmed it was in talks to spin off its European arm in a £550m deal. The potential buyer was European Life Group Holding (ELG), a privately owned vehicle backed by the US-based fund Sixth Street.

On Tuesday (15 June), the group said it received "unsolicited expressions of interest" for Phoenix Europe and had recently been in advanced discussions about a potential sale. However, it said the group's board concluded the deal on offer would not maximise shareholder value and, therefore, discussions have ended.

The group said its European operation continued to offer "strategic optionality".

It said in a statement: "Phoenix will now progress a range of management actions to maximise shareholder value whilst ensuring we continue to support our customers and colleagues."

In February, it bought the Standard Life brand name from Standard Life Aberdeen, a move that resulted in SLA's rebranding to Abrdn.  

Into the ashes: An in-depth look at Phoenix and Standard Life

The move was an acceleration of the strategic partnership the firms entered into after the £3.3bn deal Phoenix made for Standard Life Assurance in 2018. That deal saw about 3,500 employees move to Phoenix, 2,800 of whom were based in Edinburgh.

Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) also became a leading shareholder in Phoenix as part of this deal and, as a result, owns around 14% of the company.  
Phoenix now owns the Standard Life brand and marketing, which means life customers of SLA will now have their end-to-end customer experience managed by Phoenix. A further 60 employees joined Phoenix after the deal.