Paper shortage delays Abrdn shareholder vote on £1.5 billion deal

Asset manager Abrdn was forced to delay a shareholder vote on the £1.5 billion transaction due to a paperwork shortage caused by international supply chain issues.

The FTSE 100 team will contact shareholders on Wednesday announcing the postponement of a vote on their proposed acquisition. Retail Fund Platform Interactive Investor.

Abrdn originally planned to complete the vote before releasing the annual results on March 1 – the first set of numbers for the full year since chief executive Stephen Bird took office in September 2020. A vote on the takeover will now be pushed back to mid-March.

The delay was first reported by Sky News.

“There has been a shortage and other companies are also expected to be affected,” said Abrdn. “We have such a large group of retail shareholders, and it’s not a small document to circulate.”

UK takeover rules, established in 1968, require companies to send paper copies of the document to all shareholders. Information about the Abrdn deal covers 120 pages and the group has about 1.1 million shareholders. The company said the document will be issued this week.

Demand for paper has been high during the pandemic, with the boom in e-commerce and demand for cardboard exacerbated by container shortages and other shipping issues. Shortages and delays have affected many groups consists of booksellers and publishers.

Dan Kemp, chief investment officer at Morningstar, warned that other groups that need to communicate with shareholders could face similar difficulties.

“We will enter proxy voting season at the end of the quarter, so we may see more [of this] will happen after that,” he said. “This speaks to the inflationary pressure that everyone is focusing on right now, although it is difficult to say how much is from increased demand and how much is from supply chain problems,” he said. speak.

The Interactive Investor purchase is Bird’s biggest bet yet to transform the UK-based asset management company, which has £532 billion in assets but has struggled in terms of capital flow and share price fell five years after being formed from Standard Life and Aberdeen.

Interactive Investor is the UK’s second largest fund supermarket, with £55 billion in assets under management.

Abrdn believes the acquisition will be crucial in transforming wealth managers in an era where fees are tight and individuals are taking on greater responsibility for funding retirees.

However, investors and analysts have mixed views on the prospects of the deal. HSBC analysts have described it as a “game changer,” but some of Abrdn’s top shareholders have expressed reservations about its pricing and how it will be integrated.

Interactive Investor is expected to list for between £1.5 billion and £2 billion before Abrdn buys it in December.

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