Abderdeen becomes Europe's biggest independent fund manager

Abderdeen becomes Europe's biggest independent fund manager

Aberdeen Asset Management is to become Europe’s biggest independent fund manager after striking a deal worth up to £660m (€789m) with Lloyds Banking Group.

The takeover of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership will result in Lloyds holding a 9.9% stake in Aberdeen while the two companies will also form a long-term strategic partnership.

Aberdeen manages around £200bn (€239bn) of funds and is set to add another £136bn once the acquisition of Edinburgh-based SWIP completes early next year.

Aberdeen fought off competition from other possible bidders, including Australian investment bank Macquarie, to secure a deal that will see it overtake Schroders as Europe’s biggest investment house. Its shares jumped by more than 10% today.

Lloyds has been holding a six-month auction for SWIP – part of the bank’s Scottish Widows insurance arm – as it sells off assets to shore up its balance sheet and focus on its UK retail and commercial banking businesses.

The group, which is 32% owned by the taxpayer, will continue to own Scottish Widows, the group’s life, pensions and investment business.

Today’s agreement will see a broad range of Aberdeen’s investment funds sold through 1,300 Lloyds branches.

It is the latest step in the transformation of Lloyds under chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.

He will qualify for a long-term bonus worth £2.3m this week if shares in the banking group hold steady.

The boss of the state-backed banking group will receive just over three million shares should the stock close above 73.6p on Wednesday.

Mr Horta-Osorio will not be able to sell them until 2018 under the incentive scheme. They were 75.6p today, at which price the bonus would have a paper value of around £2.3m.

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