Counter Bids on Westpac and St. George Deal

Submitted by Craig Strzelecki on 15 May, 2008 - 10:45

National Bank of Australia is planning to offer a counter bids on St. George. The Chief Executive of NAB commented that his bank is looking at options to run numbers on St George bank takeover. "We look at all opportunities and in due course we will look at this transaction, but just now we're literally on the sidelines watching with interest what is happening," said Mr. Stewart at the National Press Club lunch in Canberra.

St. George’s board has entered a two week exclusive negotiation period with Westpac after endorsing an all-scrip $19 billion take over by nation’s third largest bank. It is a time to wait and watch for other banks. Acquisition of St. George can be an interesting and quite fruitful for other two largest banks of Australia – NAB and ANZ. Both the banks lack a strong presence New South Wales where St. George is strategically located and holds a large market share.

According to the analysts, if any of the two banks plan to counter Westpac’s bid, then it would take at least four years for them to pay off the bid. Only Commonwealth bank would take three years for the pay off. The acquisition of such a big asset still remains worth taking the pains for other banks. The analysts are not only skeptical about NAB making an offer but they are also questioning St. George’s swift capitulation to the offer.

The markets also relayed their sentiments over the current developments of Westpac’s bid to take over St. George. Westpac stock closed down 16 cents at $24.95 while St. George’s stock rallied 85 cents to $34.55. The decline in Westpac’s share prices has now put the Westpac board under pressure to escalate their cash components in the deal. Market also reacted to Mr. Stewart’s comment about placing a counter bid and led to heavy selling of NAB’s share and the prices tumbled 68 cents to close at $33.70.

NAB and ANZ had previously held stakes in St. George at some point of time. If the deal between St. George and Westpac goes through, they shall hold nearly 25 percent of the market share for home loans and personal loans.