BUPA has issued an emphatic denial that it is the target of a £3bn takeover bid, following a press report last month. Head of public relations David Bryant said that almost every point made in the story in the Financial Mail on Sunday
on June 7 was incorrect.
Among other things, the article claimed that Lloyds TSB and Halifax were front runners to take over the insurer. “No-one has made a bid and we are not looking for bids,” Bryant told Health Insurance
. “No-one could take us over anyway, unless our constitution was changed and the Board is unanimous that it wants to keep our provident status.”
Bryant said that chief executive Peter Jacobs announced his retirement last April, in line with a two year plan and had not “resigned” as was claimed. The succession of Val Gooding as chief executive had also been planned and the use of management consultants was a routine low key exercise, not a bid to “sort out the situation”.
BUPA, he said, was in “very good financial shape” and made a £68m profit last year, with reserves of £600m at December 31.
He admitted that there had been a slight loss in the health insurance side of the business but said much money was spent last year on a number of planned one-off commitments, including investment in nursing homes, the computer system and improvements to customer service.
Bryant said he did not know the source of the story and was unable to say whether BUPA would take legal action over it.