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Westpac gets BT second time around

Fund management

BT Financial Group is being palmed off yet again in what will be Australian bank Westpac's second attempt to acquire the investment firm. It will also be the bank's third, and largest, fund management acquisition since it purchased Rothschild Australia Asset Management in April.

Westpac will acquire a majority stake in BT Financial Group for A$900 million (US$496 million) with a maximum additional payment of A$150 million to Principal Finance Group subject to the performance of the business - that is, dependent on Westpac's success in increasing retail funds under management.

On August 19, a week after the announcement that it would buy BT, Westpac stated that it would also acquire a 51% stake in alternative asset management firm Hastings Fund Management for $36 million.

This is not the first time Westpac has attempted to purchase BT Financial Group. In 1999 it was the preferred bidder when Deutsche Bank divested the business but was forced to withdraw its offer when BT employees rallied against it.

Principal Financial Group was the successful acquirer of BT for A$2.1 billion. However, less than three years on Principal has chewed the business up and spat it out.

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