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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May have picked up the lead roles on the £11bn tie-up between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management.
The deal is understood to be Freshfields’ first big win for Aberdeen Asset Management, with the company tending to turn to Slaughters.
Slaughters instead worked with its other longstanding client, Standard Life. The relationship has historically been run by partner Jonathan Marks.
Standard Life’s legal team is led by general counsel Rushad Abadan, who joined from the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2015.
Freshfields financial institutions co-head Claire Wills and London managing partner Julian Long meanwhile won the mandate for Aberdeen Asset Management, whose legal team is led by Gordon Brough.
The firm was supported by Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens financial services head Guy Norfolk.
The merger, which is set to create the UK’s largest asset manager, was announced over the weekend.
Under the terms of the agreement, Aberdeen shareholders are set own around 33.3 per cent of the company with the remainder owned by Standard Life shareholders. The combined group will be headquartered in Scotland.
Background to the deal
Slaughters is the corporate firm of choice for both Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life.
The firm advised Aberdeen Asset Management in 2015 on its proposed issuance of a new class of shares, also working with SVG Capital in 2013 on its strategic alliance with the asset manager. It further supported JP Morgan Cazenove on a rights issue for the company.
Deals for Standard Life include advising on its return of around £1.75bn to shareholders in 2015 and its acquisition of Ignis Asset Management in 2014. On the latter deal, Freshfields acted for the target parent company Phoenix Group.
Both firms worked together in 2009 on another asset-related deal, as Freshfields partner Wills led a team advising Barclays on a deal that saw Standard Life Bank acquire a £5.5bn book of savings and mortgages worth £8.8bn.
Its subsidiary company Standard Life Investments held a real-estate focused panel review last year, adding Maples Teesdale and Shepherd & Wedderburn to the roster. Addleshaw Goddard, CMS Cameron McKenna and Herbert Smith Freehills were reappointed.
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