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Analysts turn against Prudential acquisition

Amid signs that investors are running out of patience regarding the proposed acquisition of AIG's Asian operations by Prudential a number of parties have stepped forward to suggest the company is paying over the odds for the operation. A Reuters poll of 23 significant shareholders saw 72% suggesting the company is overpaying with an asking price of US$35.5 billion.

While officially Prudential is still pursuing the acquisition the problem now is that the company may well have difficulty in obtaining the desired level of shareholder acceptance to pursue the deal. This is an acquisition which the company has been fighting tooth and nail to put together, overcoming a number of difficult hurdles along the way. However, if investors have turned against the acquisition en masse we could well see an about turn performed by the Prudential management to at least try and save face.

There is no doubt that we have seen an increase in shareholder activity with regards to director salaries and acquisitions over the last two years. Shareholder power has never been as high as it is today and Prudential may well be about to feel this power.

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