GLOBAL - Aberdeen Asset Management's real estate subsidiary Aberdeen Property Investors has snapped up a deal to buy its rival Goodman Property Investors for £109m (€140m).

A statement issued by the firms today confirms Aberdeen and Goodman have agreed a takeover deal of subsidiary GPI for an initial cash sum of £89m, albeit the final sum could be £124.5m, following an internal review by Goodman last year.

Part of the deal will see all of its staff in the UK, France and the Netherlands, transfer to Aberdeen, while Andrew Smith, currently head of indirect investment at GPI, will become managing director of fund management and indirect funds at Aberdeen Property Investors, and John O'Connor, managing director of GPI, takes up the mantle as UK managing director at API.

Once the agreement is approved by the UK's Financial Services Authority, API will have global assets under management worth £24bn, thanks to the arrival of £7bn from GPI.
The two firms have been major competitors in the Asian and European real estate markets in recent months. But GPI has around 93% of its assets invested, directly or indirectly, in UK property while this market currently accounts for only a small portion of API's AuM.

This is the latest of several takeover deals for the two firms, as Aberdeen only recently completed the takeover of Glasgow Investment Managers as well as buying DEGI earlier this year, a German provider of open-ended property funds. Goodman, meanwhile, bought Arlington Investment Managers in 2005, and has been signing big names to its indirect property team.

Michael O'Sullivan, European CEO of Goodman, said he believed this the best way to take Goodman "to the next stage of development".

"Our business in Europe has grown considerably in Europe over the last two years and during this period the GPI business has developed a significant global customer base and expanded product offering to meet the market demand for specialist investment management. We conducted a strategic review with the GPI management team last year and it was clear that finding a specialist strategic partner was the best way to maximise the business potential. I am very pleased to have found that partner in Aberdeen," said O'Sullivan.

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