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Competition regulator greenlights £11bn Standard Life-Aberdeen merger

The Competition and Markets Authority launched an initial investigation into the merger in May but has decided not follow that up with a more in-depth review

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The tie-up will create the UK’s biggest asset manager, overseeing £660bn of assets

The £11bn merger between fund manager giants Standard Life PLC (LON:SL.) and Aberdeen Asset Management PLC (LON:AND) has been cleared by the UK competition watchdog this morning.

The Competition and Market Authority’s decision not to press ahead with a more in-depth ‘phase two’ investigation means the deal is on course to close by mid-August.

The merger will create the UK’s largest asset management group and the second biggest in Europe with £660bn of assets under management.

In a statement, the two firms said: “Standard Life and Aberdeen note the announcement today by the CMA that it has completed its review of their proposed merger and has cleared the transaction unconditionally.”

The deal, which will see Aberdeen shareholders own 33.3% of the combined group and Standard Life shareholders owning the remainder, was agreed back in March.

Shareholders in favour

The CMA’s decision comes after shareholders of both companies voted in favour of the merger earlier this week.

Just shy of 99% of Standard Life investors backed the deal, while 94.6% agreed with the planned directors’ remuneration policy.

On the Aberdeen side, 95.8% of shareholders voted for the tie-up, while 78.6% approved the executive pay motion.

Standard Life Aberdeen

The two Scotland-based companies want to create a global industry powerhouse and are targeting £200mln a year in cost savings. As part of those cost-cutting plans, the two fund managers expect to cut almost 10% of their combined workforce.

The combined group will be renamed Standard Life Aberdeen. It will also be headquartered in Scotland and will continue to have offices around the world.

Both companies have previously agreed on a 16-strong board made up of an equal number of Standard Life and Aberdeen directors.

Standard Life chief executive Keith Skeoch and Aberdeen boss Martin Gilbert will become co-chief executives of the new firm.

Standard Life shares shed 1% to 388.1p, while the Aberdeen share price fell 0.8% in early deals to 291.7p.

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