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Pru to scoff rest of Egg

Thy will shell be done

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Prudential - the financial outfit with a majority stake in UK internet bank Egg - has completed a strategic about-turn by announcing plans to acquire the remaining slice of the business owned by shareholders.

The Pru owns all but 21.7 per cent of Egg, and now wants the lot in a deal that would value the e-business at a shade under £1bn.

Eighteen months ago the Pru slapped a "for sale" sign on Egg and after months of searching failed to find a buyer. It also legged it out of France following a rotten time there.

In October, though, the Pru's new boss Mark Tucker announced plans to hang onto its stake in the business. Now he wants the lot because of "substantial opportunities" in the UK's financial services market.

By folding Egg into Pru's existing UK business the firms reckons it can attract new punters and generate savings of £40m by 2007.

Said Egg chief exec Paul Gratton: "There are considerable opportunities to grow Egg's revenues and profits within the Prudential Group, which will give us access to nearly 2.8 million additional marketable customers."

By mid morning shares in Egg were up 13.83p (13.5 per cent) at 116.33p.

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