Shares in Standard Life Aberdeen (LON:SLA) have fallen deep into the red in London in today’s trading as Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) announced that it was selling its remaining stake in the blue-chip asset manager. The move marks another blow for the company after the bailed-out lender recently unveiled plans to pull out £109 billion of assets under management from the company in the wake of the merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management, arguing that the tie-up had resulted in the assets being managed ‘by a material competitor’.
As of 10:01 BST, Standard Life Aberdeen’s share price had given up 3.71 percent to 350.50p, pressuring the benchmark FTSE 100 index which currently stands 0.78 percent in the red at 7,644.06 points. The group’s shares have lost more than eight percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a three-percent rise in the Footsie.
Lloyds sells holding in SLA
Lloyds announced in a statement this morning that it had sold its remaining stake in Standard Life Aberdeen, representing about 3.3 percent of the group’s issued ordinary share capital, at a price of 352.5 pence per share raising aggregate gross sale proceeds of £344 million.
“The holding supported the partnership agreements that were previously in place with Standard Life Aberdeen, but given notice has been served for these agreements, and we are not a natural long-term holder of equities, we have now made the decision to sell the stake,” a Lloyds spokesman told Reuters.
The Financial Times meanwhile noted in its coverage of the news that a Standard Life Aberdeen spokesman had declined to comment on the share sale, while noting that the companies were still in discussions about the bailed-out lender’s decision to remove the £109-billion Scottish Widows investment mandate.
Analysts on asset manager
The 14 analysts offering 12-month price targets for Standard Life Aberdeen for the FT have a median target of 460.00p on the shares, with a high estimate of 490.00p and a low estimate of 376.00p. As of June 7, the consensus forecast amongst 17 polled investment analysts covering the blue-chip asset manager has it that the company will outperform the market.