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Aviva, Friends Life shareholders vote for $8.4 billion merger

POST Online Media ▼ | March 26, 2015
Shareholders of Aviva and Friends Life voted in favor of Aviva's $8.4 billion takeover of Friends Life.
Merger   0.74 Aviva ordinary shares for each Friends Life ordinary share
More than 99 percent of Aviva shareholders who voted were in favor of the deal, Aviva said in a regulatory filing following an extraordinary general meeting. Aviva needed the agreement of more than 50 percent of the votes cast.

More than 90 percent of Friends Life shareholders also voted in favor, Friends Life said in a separate filing, with a majority of 75 percent required.

In November last year the boards of Aviva and Friends Life confirmed that they have reached agreement on the key financial terms of a possible all share combination of Aviva and Friends Life.

The combined business would have leadership positions across key product areas and be better positioned to take advantage of the evolving UK life insurance market with greater capacity to invest and innovate.

Specifically the transaction would lead to a substantial increase in Aviva's protection value of new business, more than double Aviva's corporate pension assets under aministration and create new opportunities by serving Friends Life's 2 billion pounds of annual pension vestings.

Retirees will from next month be free to use their pension pots as they choose, rather than being obliged to buy an income-bearing annuity. Industry sales of annuities have already dropped sharply in anticipation of the new rules, to around 8 billion pounds last year.

Aviva would acquire the entire ordinary share capital of Friends Life on the basis of an exchange ratio of 0.74 Aviva ordinary shares for each Friends Life ordinary share. Friends Life said it expected its stock to delist on April 10.