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Westpac cans BT bid

Westpac Banking Corp is the latest bidder to pull out of the race for Bankers Trust's Australasian funds management operations.

Thursday, June 3rd 1999, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

Westpac Banking Corp is the latest bidder to pull out of the race for Bankers Trust's Australasian funds management operations.
Westpac says it put a conditional bid in for BT by the deadline last Saturday, but has now pulled out after a number of days of negotiation.
Chief executive and managing director David Morgan says after negotiations it appeared not all of the bank's commercial criteria could be met.
"Consequently it was not in our shareholders' interests to proceed."
The four problematic parts of the sale appear to be:

  • Price (too high)

  • The speed of the sale (to meet vendor Deutsche Bank's self-imposed deadline of having it sorted out before Friday)

  • The cost involved in keeping BT's executives on board post-sale

  • And Deutsche's desire to sell BT's funds management business in one package with its investment banking operations.

The markets haven't been too keen on the prospect of Westpac acquiring BT. Since it became front runner earlier this week its share price has fallen, and managed fund research house Morningstar expressed strong reservations about the prospect of a BT/Westpac merger.
Deutsche Bank says that, following Westpac's withdrawal, that BT will become a wholly owned unit of the group when the Deutsche Bank-Bankers Trust merger is completed at the parent company level.
It hasn't specificly ruled out a future sale.
Other bidders, Bank of Zealand's parent National Australia Bank, ASB Bank's parent Commonwealth Bank and US firm Principal pulled out of the sale process earlier in the week.
Deutsche Bank wanted the sale to coincide with the deadline for its $15 billion payment for Bankers Trust's global business on Friday.
« Morningstar threatens BT downgradeGet your tax questions answered online »

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