Westpac Banking Corp (Westpac) remains in talks with Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc. (Dai-ichi) over the sale of its life insurance unit, which could value the business at around US$1 billion (approx. AU$1.36 billion), according to a Bloomberg report.
Westpac, Australia’s second-largest bank, and Japan-based Dai-ichi are expected to make an announcement about the deal this month, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who chose not to be identified.
However, the sources told Bloomberg that the exclusive talks between both companies could still fall apart as they have not yet reached a final decision.
Earlier this year, Westpac appointed advisers to help sell its life insurance unit as part of its strategy to drop non-core assets to focus on banking in Australia.
Westpac’s decision came after several scandals that led to a record AU$1.3 billion (US$962 million) fine for the bank to settle the country’s biggest breach of anti-money laundering laws. It has since sold its general insurance business to Germany’s Allianz SE for AU$725 million and agreed to sell its Pacific unit to Kina Securities Ltd. for as much as AU$420 million.
In November, Westpac told investors that its life insurance business’s earnings were likely to remain under pressure, posting AU$229 million in income in the 2020 financial year before write-downs.