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A fund manager with a stake in Prudential PLC (PRU.LN) worth around GBP50 million is trying to gather support for a vote of no-confidence in chief executive officer Tidjane Thiam, as concern mounts about the U.K. insurer's bid to acquire American International Group Inc.'s (AIG) Asian unit and an associated rights issue.
Neptune Investment Management, a U.K.-based fund management firm with around GBP5 billion in assets under management, is seeking backing from other shareholders in Prudential, according to a report in the U.K.'s Daily Mail newspaper, which was confirmed by representatives for the fund manager.
"I am trying to drum up support from institutions and all those discontented small shareholders who feel they haven't been consulted by management," Robin Geffen, managing director of Neptune told the Daily Mail, in remarks verified by representatives. Geffen himself couldn't immediately be contacted. A Prudential spokesman declined to comment.
Prudential Wednesday delayed the start of a roughly $20 billion rights issue--expected to be used in part to fund a $35.5 billion acquisition of AIA Group Ltd.--after the Financial Services Authority, a U.K. regulator, indicated that it had concerns over the capital position of an enlarged group.
The rights issue was due to be released Wednesday but Prudential said it would review the timetable and hasn't yet provided specific detail. Discussions are continuing with the FSA.
The AIA acquisition, announced in March, has been dogged by concern that shareholders wouldn't back it. In the two days after the deal was announced Prudential's share price fell by almost 20% due to these concerns, although it recovered since then. Unconfirmed U.K. newspaper reports said Capital Group, which owns more than 10% of the equity in Prudential, is opposed to the AIA acquisition and sees better value in a break-up.
Top ten shareholders in Prudential, contacted by Dow Jones Newswires in recent days, have all declined to comment on their positions regarding the deal.
-By Jessica Hodgson; Dow Jones Newswires; +44207 8429373; firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Vladimir Guevarra contributed to this item.)