Barclays wins investors round over sale of BGI to BlackRock

BARCLAYS chairman Marcus Agius yesterday defended the sale of Barclays Global Investors, as some shareholders accused the bank of &ldquo;selling the family silver&rdquo;.<br /><br />Agius said the sale, worth $14.2bn (&pound;8.5bn), would &ldquo;allow shareholders to participate in and enjoy a relationship with the global leader in the industry&rdquo;.<br /><br />One shareholder asked why the bank was selling a unit that had consistently delivered solid profits.<br /><br />Agius, backed up by board members including finance director Chris Lucas, replied that &ldquo;the prospects of BGI as owned by Barclays are lower than if it is owned by BlackRock&rdquo;.<br /><br />The deal will see BlackRock pay $6.6bn in cash plus 38m shares to Barclays, which will take a 19.9 per cent interest in the new company, BlackRock Global Investors.<br /><br />Chief executive John Varley and Barclays Capital boss Bob Diamond will both take seats on the board, while Diamond stands to net a &pound;20m windfall on his shares in BGI.<br /><br />More than 99 per cent of shareholders approved the deal, despite some dissent. <br /><br />The bank also said it was planning &ldquo;enhancements&rdquo; to its pension plan.