Respondents to our web poll last week gave the thumbs up to Prudential's decision to call off its acquisition of AIA. Most said the $35.5 billion asking price was too high and a small number simply disagreed with the strategy, but more than one-third of voters wanted to see the deal go ahead.
Some of the Pru's biggest shareholders openly objected to the deal, but, as our poll reflects, there was also a good amount of support for the deal. Much of the criticism of the strategy has focused on regulatory hurdles in China and India, but some analysts say this ignores the huge potential of AIA's businesses in Southeast Asia.
In the end, the Pru's chief executive Tidjane Thiam was undone by his ambition. With less than a year in the job, he was asking shareholders to give up a big chunk of their dividends and bet on his ability to integrate a distant operation in the hope of big rewards down the line. It wasn't a gamble they wanted to take on.
The failed deal has cost Prudential a whopping $650 million and put its senior management under intense pressure, but they have held onto their jobs so far.
In total, 54% of our voters said the Prudential shareholders were right to oppose the deal because the price tag was too high, while 7% said the strategy was wrong and 39% said the shareholders were wrong to oppose the acquisition.
Photo provided by AFP.