Tuesday, 25 April, 2017

Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management shares soar - but jobs will go

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week- Day One The two Scottish firms are said to be in talks of a merger
Mae Harvey | 07 March, 2017, 00:23

Following completion of the merger, Aberdeen shareholders would own approximately 33.3 percent, while Standard Life investors would hold the remaining 66.7 percent of the combined group on a diluted basis.

The deal, which has grown out of conversations from the start of the year, will see the asset management merger bring together the equities and fixed income arms - adding Aberdeen's passive focus and Standard Life's "solutions" business.

Aberdeen, with $374 billion in assets (including $65 billion in the U.S.), and Standard Life, with $329 billion ($15 billion U.S.), said this morning they are combining operations, under Aberdeen founder Martin Gilbert and Standard Life boss Keith Skeoch as "co-CEOs".

Standard Life chairman Gerry Grimstone would become chairman of the board of the combined group, and Aberdeen's chairman Simon Troughton would become deputy chairman.

If Aberdeen and Standard Life did merge, it would involve Lloyds Banking Group - a 10% shareholder in Aberdeen - holding a small minority stake in the business.

"Aberdeen has been overly reliant on Asian and emerging markets for a long time and this has created significant volatility in its business performance, while Standard Life will see those Asian and emerging market assets as very complementary to its fixed interest and United Kingdom asset base".

Active managers have been trying to stop a tide of investors shifting money to low-priced, passive funds and have been cutting costs to maintain or boost profitability.

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The companies expect £200 million of annual cost synergies within three years of the merger taking place. The deal is due to complete in the third quarter of 2017.

Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management have agreed terms for an £11bn merger, having revealed talks over the weekend.

Others Numis had said would act were Henderson, which bought Janus in October, and Liontrust, which acquired Alliance Trust late a year ago.

Peel Hunt gave shares of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC a price target of 280 indicating a potential decrease of -7.44% from Aberdeen Asset Management PLC's current price of 302.5.

Both Aberdeen and Standard Life, which actively manages about £270bn globally, have had hard recent periods to weather.

As the acquiring party, Standard Life has until the close of business on April 1 to formalise its offer to buy Aberdeen under United Kingdom takeover rules.

Further details were given on the agreement, which would create Britain's biggest fund manager with assets worth £660bn, before shares began trading.

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