Piling on the pounds: Aviva-Friends Life reflects appetite for scale

Insurance tie-up is part of trend for firms to maximise efficiencies

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Nobody seemed quite sure of what to make of the announcement by Aviva on Friday, November 21 that it had entered a preliminary deal to buy Friends Life for £5.6 billion ($8.7 billion). The reaction of investors on the following Monday morning when markets reopened was mixed, with many analysts saying the benefit to Aviva was not immediately obvious. The UK insurer's share price fell 5.8% on the day.

Yet Aviva's actions give several clues as to the direction of the UK's insurance market. The acqu