Insurer Pearl is preparing to make an all-cash offer for rival Resolution as early as next week, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.
The newspaper said Pearl was expected to pitch its offer at below Resolution's share price on Wednesday when it ended at 695 pence, valuing Resolution at 4.8 billion pounds ($9.7 billion).
Last week, Resolution said it held due diligence meetings with both Pearl and rival Standard Life but said it had held no talks on proposals and had received no firm offers.
Resolution has already agreed a nil-premium merger with smaller rival Friends Provident.
Pearl is controlled by U.K. entrepreneur Hugh Osmond.