Old Mutual’s Hostile Takeover of Skandia
Chapter 12: An Indicative Bid Leaks Out
NEW ATTEMPTS TO CONTROL THE BUSINESSES IN THE UK The already strained relationship between Skandia chair Bernt Magnusson and CEO Hans-Erik Andersson continued to worsen. Following the AGM in April, the CEO complained that the chair no longer seemed whole-heartedly to support his and management’s efforts to integrate and coordinate the different regions. However, Andersson continued to work and argue for the need to close the gap between Skandia Life UK and the HQ in Stockholm. He wanted to implement the Turbo project’s plans for substantial savings in the UK as well. Andersson made a list of 20 candidates ready to take positions in Skandia Life UK, including a candidate who could replace Nick Poyntz-Wright as CEO; in the event Andersson’s efforts were met with resistance. Magnusson and his deputy chair Björnsson met the potential candidate, but concluded that he was not the right person for the job. However, the back-up process brought with it a renewed discussion regarding Andersson’s ideas and plans both for Skandia Life UK and for Skandia as a whole. Even if the ‘stand-alone’ option remained the board’s main way forward for Skandia, Magnusson wanted top management to work with other alternatives too; he argued that a structural solution represented both a possible and interesting path. He gradually began to regard the ‘stand-alone’ answer as more of a ‘fallback’ solution for Skandia, necessary to explore if an attractive deal did not turn up. Institutional investors, as well as Skandia managers close to Magnusson, heard him...
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