Westpac Banking Plans BT Panorama Sale – Report
Westpac Banking Corporation (WEBNF) is launching a tender for its BT Panorama wealth management unit. Quoting people familiar with the subject, Bloomberg reports that the lender allows suitors to view confidential information on the investment platform for sale. Shares of WEBNF fell 3.09% to close at $15.70 on March 8.
Westpac Banking is an Australian company that offers banking and financial services. It operates through Consumer Bank, Business Bank, BT Financial Group (Australia), Westpac Institutional Bank, Westpac New Zealand and Group Businesses segments.
BT Panorama Sale
The decision to offload Panorama is part of Westpac Banking’s effort to exit the wealth, pensions, life insurance and auto finance segments. The sale should allow the lender to refocus and exit pension and financial planning operations, which suffered technical malfunction and poor ratings last year.
With bids for the investment platform expected in late April, a deal worth $1.1 billion could close, according to people familiar with the matter. Bloomberg also reports, however, that the details of the sale could change.
According to Westpac, BT Panorama serves more than 230,000 customers and has approximately A$105 billion in funds under management. With 6,000 advisors, it offers its clients services enabling them to review their investment options. Last year, the platform came under intense scrutiny after it suffered service outages that left customers unable to receive statements or be able to transact.
Last month, Jefferies analyst Brian Johnson downgraded Westpac Banking stock to a sell from a hold with a price target of $14.19, implying a downside potential of 9, 59% from current levels. According to the analyst, the company should seek an outside CEO despite the risk of another earnings rebasing.
The consensus among analysts is a hold based on 2 buys and 2 sells. Westpac Banking’s average price target of $16.18 implies upside potential of 3.06% from current levels.
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