Prudential charm offensive pays off as a £23bn deal looks likely

Steve Dinneen
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PRUDENTIAL is confident its investors will give the green light to a record breaking £14bn rights issue after the second day of a charm offensive.

Chief executive Tidjane Thiam flew back to London for face-to-face talks with key investors to convince them the deal to buy the Asian operations of American Insurance International –?AIA –? represents long-term value.

A source close to the talks told City A.M. there was “very positive engagement”. He also said seven key shareholders, who combined own around 30 per cent of the company, were almost certain to throw their weight behind the deal.

For the mammoth rights issue to go ahead Prudential needs 75 per cent of shareholders to agree. That means minority shareholders could still scupper the bid – which was said to be in the balance earlier this week – but it will be seen as an important milestone.

Thiam will be working through a number of issues, including concerns that shareholders are being asked to stump up too much of the £23bn on the table for AIA. The company announced on Monday it would bring forward its Hong Kong listing in a bid to convince shareholders they will not be forced to carry the weight of the deal alone.