Old Mutual’s Hostile Takeover of Skandia
Chapter 17: Trying to Keep Skandia Independent
ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND THE SWEDISH AP FUNDS The deal opposition continued to grow. Leading Swedish business actors discussed Skandia’s future standing among themselves, and with advisers, analysts, journalists, politicians and so on. A kind of social movement arose, composed of loosely coupled business people who all tried to persuade the larger Swedish retail and pension funds that had shareholdings in Skandia to turn down Old Mutual’s bid. Sven-Eric Österberg, deputy minister of finance in Sweden’s Social Democratic government (and who had a particular responsibility for the financial markets and pension funds) also carefully monitored what happened in and around Skandia. Österberg had been a member of parliament since the mid-1990s, and had been mostly engaged on its finance committee. He had also been involved in the reformation of the Swedish pension system and the remodelling of the four AP funds in the 1990s. Österberg had debated many times with Lars-Erik Forsgårdh of the Swedish Shareholders’ Association and Göran Johnsson, chair of the Metalworkers’ Union, in an attempt to get the four fund chairs to come up with a suggestion for how to reform the funds’ investment policies in order to become more ‘long-term’. The deputy finance minister liked the idea of AP funds becoming substantial stakeholders in Swedish blue chips. He said in a press comment in the spring of 2005 that it would be preferable if the AP funds were allowed to increase their stake in a single company, above the currently stipulated 10 per cent.1...
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