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Westpac's surprise bid for stake in Bank of East Asia revealed

Westpac’s surprise bid for stake in Bank of East Asia revealed

(06 February 2013 – Asia) Westpac made a surprise bid for a US$400 million (A$384 million) stake in Hong Kong’s Bank of East Asia in December, sending a clear signal the Australian bank is serious about growing in Asia. As Australia’s second largest bank, it has a reputation of being the most domestically focused of the big four.

The bid for Bank of East Asia was unsuccessful, but it revealed Westpac’s plan to gain a strategic, long-term shareholdings in Asian banks.

It was rumoured throughout 2012 that the bank was quietly looking at investment opportunities throughout Asia, including small-scale acquisitions in banking and wealth management.

Bank of East Asia issued 111 million new shares in December for US$400 million to fund its expansion in mainland China and shore-up its capital base.

Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group doubled its existing stake in Bank of East Asia to 9.5 percent after its successful buy-in.
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