Some 91.83% voted in favour of the deal with just 8.17% voting against it. In the end the resolution to sell passed easily but it had looked like the board would have a fight on its hand. Activist hedge fund firm Elliott Capital Advisors had built an 11% stake in the firm in February, which it upped to just over 20% last week.
Major shareholders Standard Life Investments, which had a 10.2% stake, and Aviva Investors, which owns 12.1%, had both branded the sale price too low and invited rival bids, although Aviva admitted it would vote in favour.
F&C chief executive Richard Wilson said: ‘I am delighted that F&C’s shareholders voted in favour of the cash acquisition of F&C by the Bank of Montreal. This reflects our view that this is an attractive transaction for both companies and will prove to be an excellent strategic, financial and cultural fit. ‘BMO is financially strong and has a clear commitment to grow its asset management business. F&C will become the European centrepiece to deliver this growth.
‘It is our ability to deliver what our clients expect in terms of investment performance and client service that will build our franchise and enable us to achieve the growth we seek. The proposed transaction with BMO will give F&C the backing to accelerate our plans.’