Aberdeen said to rule out big change in bid

David Hellier
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ABERDEEN Asset Management has ruled out making a cash offer for Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) even if that means losing out in a bid battle for the investment business currently owned by Lloyds Banking Group, sources close to the talks said last night.

Last month the group, whose chief executive is Martin Gilbert, announced that it was in talks with Lloyds over the possibility of creating a partnership with SWIP that would be funded by shares and cash over a period of years.

“If agreed, the acquisition would be funded through the issuance of new shares in Aberdeen to Lloyds and additional deferred payments in cash, conditional on the performance of the partnership over a period of years,” the statement said.

But since then there have been reports that Macquarie, Australia’s largest investment bank, has been contemplating making a cash offer of £600m for SWIP, causing Aberdeen’s shares to fall on fears it might raise its bid and convert to an all cash offer.

The signs last night were that Gilbert’s fund management group will not modify its initial proposal by much, even if it loses out.