Every couple of years the rumour mill begins with speculation that investment banking powerhouse Goldman Sachs will buy the 55 per cent stake in its Australian joint venture Goldman Sachs & Partners that it does not own.
The reason for the two year cycle is that it coincides with a 90 day window of opportunity for Goldman’s to discuss the stake sale with its domestic joint venture’s 120 plus shareholders.
Governor of the Australian central bank Glenn Stevens has strongly defended his decision to support CBA’s opportunistic acquisition of Bankwest whilst it was teetering on the edge of insolvency during the global financial crisis.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission sought the opinion of the central bank before granting regulatory approval for the 2008 deal.
Industry watchers have criticized the government’s decision to allow the fire sale of Bankwest and the merger of St George with Westpac as being the primary reason behind the reduced level of competition within the banking sector.
As Australia’s stock brokers seek to compete more aggressively with global investment banks, two of the largest brokers plan to merge their operations.
On Friday, Bell Financial Group, which is listed on the Australian stock exchange announced its intention to merge its two wholly owned subsidiary’s Southern Cross Equities and Bell Potter in a deal which would created a full service independent stock broker which provides services for both institutional and retail clients, as well as offer investment banking and research.
The Australian Bankers Association says that claims that lenders are gouging their customers with their mortgage lending rates are “manipulated”. The ABA issued the rejection of the claim, after think tank the Australia Institute told a newspaper that the banks had lifted their rates higher than the increase in their funding costs.
The Australia Institute says that whilst the official rise in interest rates during the June quarter of last year was an average of 136 basis points, funding costs had risen by only 88 basis points.
Bancassurance firm Suncorp on Tuesday announced the sales of its Tyndall Investment Management fund management business as it moves to further streamline its operations.
Suncorp is selling the division to Nikko Asset Management, a Japanese financial services firm that is seeking to enter the Australian market for $128.5 million. Tyndall manages approximately $18 billion for Suncorp, and the bancassurer will remain its major client even after Nikko assumes control of the business.
Australian banking major ANZ says it remains confident it will be successful in its attempt to acquire a controlling stake in Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), after its bid price was trumped by Korean financial services firm Hana Financial.
On Tuesday The Wall Street Journal reported that Hana Financial had already clinched the deal, after acquiring preferred business status for the 51 per cent stake which has been put up for sale by US Private Equity group Lone Star Funds.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Korean financial services firm Hana Financial has already acquired a 51 per cent stake in Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) from US Private Equity Firm Lone Star Funds for US$4.2 billion.
IF the report is true, it would mean that Hana Financial has managed to snatch the target company out of the arms of suitor ANZ, which has yet to confirm or acknowledge that a transaction has taken place.
Australian wealth manager AMP has launched a fresh bid for AXA Asia Pacific Holdings (APH) using a mix of both cash and stock which values the company at $14 billion or $6.43 a share.
It is widely expected that APH’s board will approve the proposed acquisition this week. AMP suspended trading in its stock on Monday pending a material announcement, whilst APH is also expected to undergo a similar suspension of trading.
Australian banking major ANZ has criticized comments made by opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey, who says that Australian taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill should the lenders international businesses fail.
Mr. Hockey made his comments during a radio interview on Monday said ANZ is close to spending $4billion on acquiring a controlling stake in Korea Exchange Bank (KEB).”I say good luck to them, but do not ask Abdul the kebab maker in Parramatta Mall, or Sam the electrician, or Nick the builder, or Joe Hockey, or Alan Jones or anyone else to guarantee that bank in South Korea against failure,” Mr Hockey said. “That’s what we’re being asked to do.”
Australia’s stock exchange ASX Ltd has agreed to merge with the Singapore stock exchange (SGX) in a deal that will create the second largest bourse in the Asia Pacific region.
The deal is valued at $8.4 billion and will result in SGX acquiring all outstanding ASX shares through an arrangement scheme, paying $22 in cash, and 3.473 new SGX shares per ASX share.