Abrdn to sell £270m Phoenix stake, give to investors

Abrdn CEO Stephen Bird

Edinburgh investment giant Abrdn has announced it will sell 40 million of its 144 million shares in life and pensions consolidator Phoenix Group Holdings plc to institutional investors and give the proceeds to Abrdn shareholders.

At Thursday’s share price, the sale would raise more than £270 million.

The shares being sold represent 4% of Phoenix’s issued share capital.

Phoenix Group is the owner of the “old” Standard Life Assurance.

Abrdn said it reconfirms its commitment to its strategic partnership with, and retained 10.4% shareholding in, Phoenix.

“Abrdn currently owns 144.1 million ordinary shares in Phoenix, representing approximately 14.4% of Phoenix’s issued share capital,” said Abrdn.

“Following completion of the placing, Abrdn’s holding will represent approximately 10.4% of Phoenix’s issued share capital and Abrdn will continue to appoint a director to Phoenix’s board.

“The company has a strong capital position with an indicative pro forma regulatory capital surplus (post IFPR) as at 30 September 2021 of c.£0.5 billion, including the impact of the interactive investor acquisition announced in December.

“In addition, Abrdn has listed investments worth c.£2 billion, after adjusting for the placing.

“As such, Abrdn intends to return the net proceeds of the pacing to shareholders, with the method and timing of the return to be announced as soon as practicable after the company’s results on 1 March.”

Abrdn CEO Stephen Bird said: “Our strategic partnership with Phoenix, the largest life and pensions consolidator in Europe, remains important for us, as evidenced by the simplified and extended relationship we announced in February 2021.

“Through our disciplined management of capital, I am pleased that we are well positioned to return the proceeds of this transaction to shareholders.”

Abrdn added: “The price per placing share will be determined by an accelerated book-building process to institutional investors facilitated by Goldman Sachs International, to be launched immediately after release of this announcement.

“The book-building may be closed at any time and the results of the placing will be announced as soon as practicable thereafter.

“The placing is subject to demand, price and market conditions.

“Goldman Sachs has been appointed by the company as sole global coordinator and bookrunner for the placing.

“The company has agreed not to sell or distribute any further shares from its proprietary shareholding in Phoenix for a period of 180 days after launch of the placing (subject to customary carve outs, and waiver by Goldman Sachs).

“A further announcement will be made following completion and pricing of the placing.

“Phoenix is not a party to the placing and will not receive any proceeds from the placing.”