BY Fraser Tennant
In a deal that will lead to the creation of a world class investment group, Standard Life plc and Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, two of the UK’s biggest investment companies, have reached agreement on the terms of an all-share merger valued in the region of £11bn.
Described as having a compelling strategic and financial rationale due to the complementary strengths of the two firms (which oversee assets worth £660bn), the merger, once complete, will see Standard Life shareholders own 66.7 percent of the combined entity while Aberdeen shareholders will own 33.3 percent.
The boards of Standard Life and Aberdeen believe the merger will: (i) create an investment group with strong brands, leading institutional and wholesale distribution franchises, market leading platforms and access to longstanding, strategic partnerships globally; (ii) deliver through increased diversification an enhanced revenue, cash flow and earnings profile and strong balance sheet that is expected to be capable of generating attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders, including dividends; and (iii) result in material earnings accretion for both sets of shareholders, reflecting the significant synergy potential of the merger.
"We believe this merger is excellent for our clients, bringing together the strong and highly complementary investment capabilities of each firm with a breadth and depth of talent unrivalled amongst UK active managers and positioning the business to meet the evolving needs of clients and customers”, said Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC. “This merger brings financial strength, diversity of customer base and global reach to ensure that the enlarged business can compete effectively on the global stage."
To be headquartered in Scotland, the combined company will be branded to incorporate the names of both Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management.
"This merger brings together two fine companies and I'm greatly honoured to be asked to chair the combination”, said Sir Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Standard Life. “I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues. We will be successful as long as we continue to put our clients, customers, employees and good governance at the heart of what we do."
In addition, the merger is expected to harness Standard Life's and Aberdeen's complementary, market leading investment and savings capabilities which would deliver a compelling and comprehensive product offering for clients covering developed and emerging market equities and fixed income, multi-asset, real estate and alternatives.
Simon Troughton, chairman of Aberdeen, concluded: "The strategic fit is compelling and will facilitate significant investment in the business to support growth, innovation and a drive for greater operational efficiency.”
The Standard Life/Aberdeen deal is subject to a number of conditions, including shareholder approvals.