Aberdeen board approves Standard Life merger amid Scottish Widows rumours

Aberdeen Asset Management’s shareholders have approved the proposed merger with Standard Life plc amid reports of a possible additional Scottish Widows deal.

Announced via a London Stock Exchange statement, the Scottish investment giant said that more than 95% of the shares voted in favour of the merger. The deal to create a new fund management giant called Standard Life Aberdeen needed just 75% of AAM investors who voted to approve the deal.

Aberdeen’s merger with Standard Life, as reported, will create the UK’s largest active asset manager and one of the top 20 firms globally.

Aberdeen’s announcement came late yesterday amid various reports and City rumours of a possible additional merger for the newly-combined Standard Life Aberdeen, to also add fellow Scottish life and investment giant Scottish Widows.

No official comment was made by either of the parties involved, but, according to a report in The Scotsman talks with Widows, owned by Lloyds Banking Group, could start later this summer once the Standard Aberdeen merger is complete.

Commenting on the shareholders announcement regarding the Standard Life merger, Simon Troughton, chairman of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, called the deal a “landmark” for Aberdeen, which started 34 years ago as a £70m investment trust and has grown to become a world-renowned asset manager “managing billions of assets and employing thousands of people around the globe”.

‘Global footprint’

“This deal opens up significant opportunities across all facets of Aberdeen’s business and is an important step towards realising the company’s ambition of creating a world-class investment business with a truly global footprint,” said Troughton.

“We are pleased with the overwhelming support Aberdeen shareholders have shown for the proposed merger. They recognise the strategic and financial rationale of the transaction.

“The two businesses’ investment capabilities and distribution channels are highly complementary and by combining them we are well positioned to compete in an evolving global market environment.”

Standard Life vote

The next vote is by Standard Life with just 50% of Standard Life’s 1.2 million shareholders, that have acquired shares since its demutualisation, needing to approve the merger.

Completion of the Standard/Aberdeen merger is expected by mid-August. Asa. result Standard Life Aberdeen would be a top 20 global fund manager, with £670bn under management.

“The new company will have a robust balance sheet and diverse revenue streams, by asset class and distribution channel. This will facilitate investment in the business to support long-term growth and shareholder returns,” added Troughton.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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