Senior Funds Correspondent
Raji's Feed
May 3, 2010

Prudential CEO prepares to face the AIA

LONDON (Reuters) – Tidjane Thiam has changed the face of Britain’s Prudential <PRU.L> for good, regardless of whether his $35.5 billion bid for AIA succeeds or not.

The insurer will either land one of the most audacious takeovers since the start of the credit crunch — still the most likely option by a slim margin — or be left behind looking vulnerable as a takeover target itself.

Apr 30, 2010

Prudential CEO prepares to face the AIA sceptics

LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) – Tidjane Thiam has changed the
face of Britain’s Prudential <PRU.L> for good, regardless of
whether his $35.5 billion bid for AIA succeeds or not.

The insurer will either land one of the most audacious
takeovers since the start of the credit crunch — still the most
likely option by a slim margin — or be left behind looking
vulnerable as a takeover target itself.

Apr 28, 2010

Gartmore’s Rambourg returns after suspension

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) – Suspended Gartmore <GRTR.L>
fund manager Guillaume Rambourg is back at work, though in a
lesser role, easing investor fears of heavy client outflows and
sparking a sharp increase in the share price.

A company probe found Rambourg, who was suspended at the end
of March, had breached internal rules for directing trades to
brokers. The 38-year-old manager will now return as an
investment analyst, the company said on Wednesday.

Apr 28, 2010

F&C to acquire UK asset firm Thames River

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) – Shares in UK fund house F&C
Asset Management fell by more than 6 percent after it said it
would buy rival Thames River Capital as it seeks to draw a line
under a turbulent period marked by investor withdrawals and
underperformance.

The firm said on Wednesday it would use debt and a share
placing equal to 5 percent of its issued share capital to pay a
total of up to 53.6 million pounds ($81.84 million) for
London-based Thames River Capital.

Apr 27, 2010

Prudential’s AIA deal hits shareholder glitch

LONDON (Reuters) – Prudential is facing the makings of a shareholder revolt over its $35.5 billion deal to buy AIA, raising the prospect the deal could fail and adding to pressure for a breakup of the British insurer instead.

Prudential’s bid for AIA — the Asia arm of American International Group — has been masterminded by Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam and would be partly financed with a massive $21 billion share sale.

Apr 26, 2010

Chloride rejects £723 million approach from Emerson

LONDON (Reuters) – Chloride Group rejected a new 723 million pound approach from former suitor Emerson Electric and was urged by major shareholders to hold out for a much higher bid from the U.S. industrials group this time around.

Emerson gave the power protection firm only two days to respond to its 275-pence-a-share cash proposal over the weekend before going public on Monday, and said its next steps would be to contact Chloride’s institutional shareholders.

Apr 26, 2010

Chloride rejects $1.1 billion approach from Emerson

LONDON (Reuters) – Chloride Group <CHLD.L> rejected a new 723 million pound ($1.1 billion) approach from former suitor Emerson Electric and was urged by major shareholders to hold out for a much higher bid from the U.S. industrials group this time around.

Emerson <EMR.N> gave the power protection firm only two days to respond to its 275-pence-a-share cash proposal over the weekend before going public on Monday, and said its next steps would be to contact Chloride’s institutional shareholders.

Apr 23, 2010

Lloyds, RBS face fresh pressure over pay plans

LONDON (Reuters) – Lloyds <LLOY.L> and Royal Bank of Scotland <RBS.L> could face stormy investor meetings in the next two weeks after a leading governance body urged shareholders to oppose the banks’ proposed pay plans.

Pirc, which advises institutional investors with assets of over 1.5 trillion pounds ($2.32 trillion), has told shareholders to reject the pay proposals which it said are potentially “excessive” and lack sufficient disclosure.

Apr 21, 2010
via Funds Hub

Montagnon jumps ship to FRC

Change at the top among the UK corporate governance elite.

Peter Montagnon, the cheerleader-in-chief for UK investors is leaving the ABI to take up a new position at the FRC, the corporate governance policeman.  Montagnon, who has spent ten years at the Association of British Insurers, is taking up his new appointment at a critical juncture for corporate governance in the UK industry.

Accused by critics of being comatose through most of the credit crisis, UK shareholders have started flexing their muscles by openly opposing company boards on key issues.  They are now working towards tackling company boards under the auspices of a new improved Institutional Shareholders Committee. You can read the story here.

Apr 14, 2010
via Funds Hub

Investors to gang up on company boards

Britain’s largest investors are gearing up to take on troublesome boards. A new body will look at addressing investor concerns over some of the most contentious issues of the day, mainly pay and strategy. You can read the story here

This kind of collective action by UK’s biggest investors is exactly the kind of thing needed to make companies to sit up and take notice of  their views. After being ravaged by the credit crisis, companies have been forced to go, cap-in-hand, to investors for fresh capital injections, forcing them to at least listen to what their biggest shareholders are saying.