Aberdeen AM shareholders approve proposed merger with Standard Life

Written by Talya Misiri

Aberdeen Asset Management shareholders have approved the proposed merger with Standard Life, it has been revealed.

The transaction will create the UK’s largest active asset manager and one of the top 25 globally. Over 95 per cent of the shares that voted were in favour of the merger.

Following Standard Life's General Meeting today, Monday 19 June, the firm also revealed that its shareholders voted 98.6 per cent in favour of the proposed merger.

The merger would see a new name for the new company which incorporates both Standard Life and Aberdeen.

Standard Life chairman Sir Gerry Grimstone would become chairman of the Board of the Combined Group, with Aberdeen’s chairman Simon Troughton becoming deputy chairman. Standard Life CEO Keith Skeoch and Aberdeen CEO Martin Gilbert would become co-CEOs of the Combined Group. In addition, Bill Rattray of Aberdeen and Rod Paris of Standard Life would become CFO and CIO respectively.

It is envisaged that the Board of Directors of the Combined Group would comprise equal numbers of Standard Life and Aberdeen directors. However, the deal is subject to shareholder approval and if that is obtained, the companies anticipate the merger will happen in the third quarter of 2017.

The two companies believe a merger would harness Standard Life 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.

Furthermore, the companies expect £200m of annual cost synergies within three years of the merger taking place.

Aberdeen Asset Management PLC chairman Simon Troughton, said: “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. The strengths of the combined businesses in multi-asset and solutions, alternatives and active specialities, such as emerging markets, are strongly aligned to the needs of clients now and in the future.

“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.

“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.”

Standard Life chairman Sir Gerry Grimstone added: "I'm delighted our shareholders have voted to support the merger today. Our merger with Aberdeen will be one of the most significant events in our near-200 year history, creating a well-diversified world-class investment company.

"There are still some approvals to be granted before the Merger can complete and I know the teams in both companies are working through these diligently. We are still on track for a completion date of Monday 14 August and will keep our shareholders informed of developments."

Last month the Competition and Markets Authority launched an inquiry into the planned merger to gage whether it could reduce competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods and services and whether it meets the provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002.

The two firms said that they were in merger talks in March this year and have since revealed that around 800 jobs are expected to be cut from the deal, which is expected to achieve cost savings of £200m per year.

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