Aberdeen back on the M&A trail with Swip talks

Michael Bow
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ABERDEEN Asset Management boss Martin Gilbert returned to the M&A fray yesterday after revealing his intention to takeover Lloyds Banking’s fund management arm.

Gilbert, who had previously said he had no interest in buying the firm, revealed he was in talks with Lloyds over its Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (Swip) unit, which was put up for sale in the summer.

He is thought to have been lured back to the table after the mooted price tag for the business fell from £800m in the summer to between £400m and £500m.

Aberdeen is proposing an all-share deal for the unit, which would give Lloyds a substantial stake in Aberdeen.

Gilbert, a seasoned buyer of businesses, completed a similar deal in 2009 when he bought Credit Suisse’s fund management arm. The £250m all share deal gave the Swiss bank a 25 per cent stake in Aberdeen. An Aberdeen takeover of Swip, which manages £145bn of other people’s money, would create Europe’s largest fund manager and create a Scottish powerhouse.

Aberdeen stock spiked six per cent to a record high in trading yesterday. Analysts were split on the move, with Barclays Daniel Garrod saying profits would rise, while Numis’ David McCann removed his “buy” rating. Swip declined to comment.