Saturday 24 February 2018

Aberdeen in race for Scottish Widows arm

Peter Woodifield, Gavin Finch and Aaron Kirchfeld

ABERDEEN Asset Management, Scotland's largest fund manager, is in talks to buy Lloyds Banking Group's Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, according to three people with knowledge of negotiations.

Aberdeen has joined the race for the asset-management arm of Scottish Widows, sources said.

The acquisition of Scotland's third-largest fund manager would make Aberdeen Europe's biggest publicly traded fund company, with assets of about £350bn (€415bn).

Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio is seeking to strengthen the firm's balance sheet by selling assets, cutting costs and eliminating jobs following the bank's government bailout in 2008.

Britain's largest mortgage lender purchased Scottish Widows, which runs both a life-insurance business and the SWIP fund-management operation, for £7.3bn in 2000.

"I don't think it would go down well with investors," said David McCann, a London-based analyst at Numis Securities with a buy recommendation on Aberdeen shares. "Given what they have said so many times, the credibility of the management would fall through the floor."

Aberdeen boss Martin Gilbert said in April that a bid for the fund manager was "highly unlikely".

Lloyds shares declined 3.1pc in London yesterday. They have increased 54pc this year.

Officials at Lloyds and Aberdeen declined to comment. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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