This particular deal, between key MMS client Aberdeen Asset Management PLC and The Royal Bank of Scotland, was as notable for its speed as for its size.
First came the auction sale, naming Aberdeen as the preferred bidder, at the start of December 2009. MMS then worked in close collaboration with Aberdeen and its other advisers thereby enabling Aberdeen and RBS to exchange on 7 January 2010. Just three weeks later, after the deal had received regulatory approval in the UK, completion came. This was on 29 January.
As a result of the transaction, the Scottish investment management group had acquired The Royal Bank of Scotland's fund of hedge fund and long-only multi-manager business. And it entered into a long-term distribution agreement with RBS Wealth Management.
What the acquisition gave Aberdeen, purely in terms of figures, was an additional £13.5bn of assets under management and £22m of revenue. It provided the business with entry to the fund of funds and alternative funds sectors. It also allowed Aberdeen access - for five years - to RBS's distribution network including Coutts & Co., the renowned private banking house. The £84.7m consideration was satisfied in cash and refinanced by a non pre-emptive placing, which itself raised just under £120m.
Bill Rattray, Aberdeen Asset Management's finance director, said: "The key, to us, in any relationship is getting to know the individuals we will be working with. We know the [MMS] team that works on our business and they pull out all the stops to make sure they are all available."
In this case, it was MMS's corporate London team, with Guy Norfolk at the helm, that led the transaction. Being on the ground in London was very important, with Aberdeen and their advisers able to sit across a table from the other side as the deal took shape quickly in a series of face-to-face meetings.
Specialist help was provided by other departments, including Employment, IP & Technology, Property and Tax. MMS not only worked with Aberdeen to negotiate and agree the key commercial and legal issues; we also ensured a smooth transfer of the acquired business.
Aberdeen's relationship with MMS and its predecessor firms stretches back 20 years. Our collaborative history includes Aberdeen's all-important Credit Suisse deal: another transaction in which time was an important factor and which also happened to take place around the festive season. "There was a particularly quick timescale at the end, with the legal work completed between Christmas and New Year's Eve in 2008," Bill Rattray said. The conclusion of this marked Aberdeen's arrival as a truly global investment manager.
One final word from Bill: "MMS are proactive in the sense that they have been able to use a bit of controlled initiative, as they know the way Aberdeen thinks and the limits to which they can explore, without coming back and taking full instructions."