Taiwan’s Cathay Fin in talks to buy Bank of Nova Scotia’s Malaysia unit

Snow covers the Scotiabank logo at the Bank of Nova Scotia headquarters in Toronto in this file photo taken on December 16, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Taiwan’s Cathay Financial Holding Co is in exclusive talks to acquire the Malaysian unit of Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia, in a deal that could be valued at around $200 million to $300 million.

If clinched, the deal will enable Taiwan’s largest financial holding company by assets to widen its reach in Southeast Asia.

The Taiwanese group’s bank and life insurance units plan to jointly purchase all of Bank of Nova Scotia Berhad in Malaysia, according to a Cathay Financial statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Thursday.

The two sides have until April 30 to agree to any deal terms, before the exclusivity expires, the statement said.

It gave no financial details.

An official in the media office for Cathay Financial told Reuters the Malaysian banking unit is estimated to have a net value of around $200 million to $300 million.

Cathay Financial already has around a quarter stake each in Bank Mayapada in Indonesia and the Philippines’ Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC).

Its latest interest comes as Taiwan’s government has been encouraging more investment into Southeast Asia, with Taiwanese financial conglomerates seeking to diversify revenue for their competitive home market.

Earlier this week, Taiwan’s financial regulator gave its green light for Cathay rival CTBC Financial Holding Co to buy a 35.6 percent stake in Thailand’s LH Financial Group for 16.6 billion baht ($470.12 million), in a deal first announced last year.

For Bank of Nova Scotia, the move to sell its Malaysian unit comes as the Canadian lender has been revamping its Asian strategy, including announcing last year it was pulling out of Taiwan.

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Reuters

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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).

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  • 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.