Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management shareholders are due to vote on the firms’ proposed tie-up on Monday, in a deal which could pave the way for another merger with Scottish Widows.
Standard Life announced a £3.8bn takeover deal for Aberdeen Asset Management, to create an £11bn fund manager, in March.
On Monday, investors from both firms will vote on whether to approve the deal, which is slated to complete on 14 August.
The prospectus for the deal made clear that the combined group would have discussions on its strategic partnership with Lloyds, which owns life assurer Scottish Widows.
There is therefore City speculation that a tie-up is on the cards, and the Sunday Times has today reported that Standard Life-Scottish Widows merger talks will begin this week when the shareholder vote is out of the way.
Lloyds has enjoyed a close relationship with Aberdeen in recent years. Aberdeen bought asset management business Scottish Widows Investment Partnership in 2013. Under the deal, the groups agreed a “long-term strategic asset management relationship whereby Aberdeen manages assets on behalf of” Lloyds. The banking group also took a 10 per cent stake in Aberdeen as part of the deal.
In March, Lloyds voiced its support for the Standard Life-Aberdeen deal, saying it “welcomes the opportunity to explore ways to build a successful relationship with the combined” group. The bank also said it had agreed, for a period of six months, to delay making decisions on whether to terminate any arrangements with Aberdeen.
In their deal prospectus, the groups said: “It is the intention that the combined group will explore ways in good faith to build a successful relationship with Lloyds for the benefit of their respective customers, businesses, shareholders and other stakeholders.”
Standard Life and Lloyds Banking Group declined to comment. Aberdeen has been asked for comment.