Abrdn is close to sealing the £1.5bn takeover of Interactive Investor and the deal could be announced today (02 December).

The move, which first emerged early last month, will transform the capabilities of the FTSE 100 asset manager in the growing self-investment sector. The deal will not require abrdn to raise fresh equity, according to Sky News who reported that the deal could be announced as early as today.

The acquisition of ii - which, with 400,000 personal investing clients and managing around £55bn is the UK's second-largest fund supermarket - would allow it to challenge firms such as Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell and would represent another bold move by CEO Stephen Bird (pictured), a former Citi executive who joined the asset management group in July 2020.

Bird has said this year that he has been on the hunt to expand its presence in UK adviser and consumer markets. Its direct-to-consumer offering is the smallest business line within the asset manager.

Interactive Investor accounts for about a fifth of the retail investment platform market, and competes with listed rivals Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell. The group has been driving consolidation in the wealth management sector, and in March bought a direct-to-consumer investment platform from rival Equiniti for £48.5m. 

Investor confidence in the takeover was indicated in November as share prices spiked following news that talks had begun.

The move will end interactive investor's goal of becoming a separately quoted company, following months of preparations for a 2022 London float.  The DIY investment platform will continue to be run by Richard Wilson and will operate independently within abdrn, according to Sky News sources.

Interactive Investor told Investment Week "no comment" when asked about the imminent deal. Abrdn also said it would not be commenting.