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Merger agreed in US and Germany

Standard Life plays down competition test

Gerry Grimstone
Gerry Grimstone: confident

Standard Life today played down the significance of a competition inquiry to be held into its planned £11bn merger with Aberdeen Asset Management.

The regulator wants to know if the deal would lead to a “substantial lessening of competition”.

It is understood that the CMA process is unlikely to derail the merger and it forms part of the normal procedure when mergers are announced.

A merger of the two Scottish giants will create the UK’s biggest asset manager with £670 billion of assets under management.

The company said the merger had already been agreed by the authorities in the US and Germany.

In a statement, Standard Life said: “Standard Life today filed an application with the CMA in respect of the proposed merger with Aberdeen Asset Management. 

“This has triggered today’s announcement by the CMA that the standard phase 1 review of this application is now under way.

“This is one of a number of regulatory and antitrust approvals being sought as part of the merger process.  Approval for the merger has already been granted by competition authorities in the US and Germany.”

The newly-combined company will be called Standard Life Aberdeen and has announced that it will need 800 fewer staff, though most will be achieved by natural turnover among the 9,000 employees.

A 16-strong board made up of an equal number of Standard Life and Aberdeen directors will be one of the biggest on the FTSE 100.

There has been some concern at the effectiveness of co-CEOs. Keith Skeoch, the Standard Life chief executive, and Aberdeen boss Martin Gilbert will share responsibilities. Sir Gerry Grimstone, Standard Life chairman who becomes chairman of the company said he was confident it would work.

A general meeting has been scheduled for 19 June at which shareholders will be asked to approve the merger. The two firms want to conclude the deal by mid-August when shares in the new company are scheduled to begin trading.


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