British Land may bid for Aberdeen subsidiary

British Land is expected to be included on a shortlist of bidders for the property arm of Aberdeen Asset Management, which could be worth £85m. A shortlist is due to be drawn up next week for the division with the sale expected to be completed by the end of June.

As well as British Land, two private equity groups are expected to be on the shortlist, after interest was shown by 40 bidders.

Last November, Aberdeen revealed plans to float the property arm for up to £125m, as part of a plan to cut its £250m debt mountain.

Aberdeen faces inquiries by the Financial Ombudsman Service, which is looking into accusations of 'mis-selling' of split-capital investment trusts. The Financial Services Authority is also investigating claims that fund managers of splits colluded to prop up share prices. Yesterday, Aberdeen declined to comment on the sale of the property arm.

Analysts said British Land´s pursuit of Aberdeen Property Investors, which has more than £6bn of property under management, could signal a change of direction for the company. The acquisition of API would go some way to answering demands from shareholders for British Land to bring in outside property managers and put more property into collective investment funds.

Source: The Financial Times

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