Westpac’s sale of Hastings ‘on hold’ as exclusive bidder drops out
Westpac’s sale of its alternative asset management arm Hastings Funds Management has hit the buffers, with the the main bidder ending talks, according to local reports.
Westpac originally announced in July that it was in exclusive talks with Charter Hall Group, a property company, for Hastings, which has offices in Australia, the UK, the US, Singapore and Seoul.
However, according to reports in The Australian newspaper, Charter Hall has now ended its interest in the group, leaving the company’s alternatives operation without a buyer.
The Australian banking giant has been scaling back non-core operations, including its Asian businesses and fund management arms. In May, it sold off a stake in BT Investment Group, a fund management group in which it was a major shareholder. The group has also been reducing its exposure to Asian wealth markets due to what it calls difficult market conditions.
As reported, in April the Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) exited another Asian retail business – its sixth in six months at the time – selling off its Vietnamese retail business to a Korean financial services group. ANZ also sold off its Asian retail and private banking businesses to Singapore’s DBS in October last year.
Singapore’s OCBC also bought National Australia Bank’s retail and wealth management arms in May 2017, as the region’s banking giants undergo a period of consolidation and restructuring.