The Great Debate UK

from UK News:

Pru’s Asian misadventure: a cautionary tale

PRUDENTIAL/By Clara Ferreira-Marques

Prudential's ill-fated Asian adventure has left the company and its management badly bruised. But it has offered at least two valuable lessons for ambitious executives tempted onto the acquisition path by post-crisis, "once-in-a-lifetime" deals.

Lesson one: It's not 2007 any more, Toto.

Lesson two: Disregard shareholders at your peril.

On the first, bold mega-deals that once impressed the market now seem to mostly unsettle both investors and regulators.

Unease at the Financial Services Authority -- and a need to tick every box -- was responsible for the unprecedented and damaging last-minute delay to Pru's offer details last month.

For that, Prudential can thank the financial crisis, but also Royal Bank of Scotland's near-fatal role in the hubristic and record takeover of ABN Amro -- despite shareholder misgivings and clear signs of an impending crisis.