KKR, Apollo among suitors for National Australia Bank’s wealth unit

Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Pixabay

KKR & Co Inc and Apollo Global Management Inc are among potential buyers which have conducted due diligence on National Australia Bank’s wealth management unit, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The sale of the unit, called MLC, could fetch more than A$1 billion ($688 million), said two of the sources, who declined to be identified as the negotiations are private.

KKR‘s interest comes on the heels of an agreement in May to pay A$1.7 billion for 55% of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s wealth unit, Colonial First State.

Spokeswomen for KKR and NAB declined to comment. Representatives for Apollo did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of regular business hours.

Suitors are expected to submit bids for MLC by Tuesday, one of the sources said. A second source said the timeline for the sale was fluid.

NAB, Australia’s third-largest bank, decided to divest its wealth management unit in 2018, but the plan has been delayed by a management overhaul and a special government-appointed inquiry into the financial services sector that found industry-wide misconduct.

It appointed Morgan Stanley and Macquarie Group to handle the sale of the unit, which manages over A$120 billion in funds. The unit had an operating margin of 0.46% in the six months to March, company documents show.

Blackstone Group also expressed early interest in MLC, two of the sources said, although it was not immediately clear if it is still interested.

A spokeswoman for Blackstone declined to comment.

A string of scandals and the findings of the year-long financial sector inquiry that ended in February 2019 has prompted Australia’s biggest banks to focus on core businesses and divest wealth management and insurance units.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.