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Lloyds Banking Group's Scottish Widows set for Standard Life merger talks

19 Juin 2017

Finding a way to combine the traditional life and pensions businesses of Widows and...

Meetings today should seen Standard Life's £11bn merger with Edinburgh-based fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management ratified by shareholders of both groups, but the Scottish Widows talk adds a third element to the mix.

To be ratified, the new company, Standard Life Aberdeen, needs the support of 75% of Aberdeen's and 50% of Standard's shareholders at today's votes. At an analyst and investor conference in March when the deal with Aberdeen was announced, Standard Life chief executive Keith Skeoch was asked whether it was moving towards an investment house and away from life assurance. "I would argue this is a process that was put in place about 13 years ago".

"We think the deal reflects Aberdeen and Standard Life choosing to be big".

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The newspaper notes that Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY), which owns Widows, has been looking at options for the business for some time, being penalised for owning a life assurer under post-crisis regulations.

The contract with Lloyds money was worth £137 million in revenue to Aberdeen in the last financial year to September 2016 and was originally scheduled to have a term of at least eight years.

Lloyds, which owns Scottish Widows, already has close links with Aberdeen after selling Scottish Widows Investment Partnership to the firm in 2013 and taking a 10% stake in Aberdeen as part of the deal.

The prospectus also confirmed that Lloyds had agreed to a six-month delay from the completion of the merger before possibly activating any change of control clause in its business relationship with AAM.

Lloyds Banking Group's Scottish Widows set for Standard Life merger talks