Corporate Financier’s Notes by Aivars Jurcans
Done! And Done
Columbia Threadneedle, a US asset manager, has agreed to buy the European investment arm of BMO Financial Group of Canada for USD 845 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to add USD 124 billion to Columbia Threadneedle’s assets under management. The purchase price represents the equivalent of 0.7% of BMO’s European assets, considered a relatively modest valuation.
Ozon, a Russian online retailer, has agreed to acquire Oney Bank, a former Russian subsidiary of France’s Oney Bank, from Sovcombank, another Russian private lender, in a cash deal worth around USD 10 million.
Bank of Montreal, a Canadian lender, has agreed to sell its EMEA asset management business to Ameriprise Financial in an all-cash deal worth USD 870 million.
Deals On The Table
OTP, a Hungarian lender, is said to be in talks to buy Nova KBM, a Slovenian bank, from Apollo, a private equity group, in a deal worth roughly EUR 1 billion.
Prudential Financial, a New Jersey-based life insurer, is said to be exploring a sale of the bulk of its retirement business, which is expected to fetch more than USD 2 billion.
Generali, an Italian insurer, is said to be in “exclusive talks” to buy assets in Malaysia belonging to AXA, its French rival, in a deal worth around EUR 300 million.
Aon, an insurance broker, is said to have offered to sell “businesses in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, including financial and professional lines and aerospace and cyber activities”, as well as “the reinsurance unit of the takeover target”, to gain EU antitrust approval for its USD 30 billion acquisition bid for Willis Towers Watson.
Elo, a Brazilian payments firm, is said to be considering an initial public offering which could potentially value it at around USD 7 billion. The company has 132 million credit and debit cards outstanding and posted USD 149.8 million in net income last year.
Metrics To Watch
Goldman Sachs annualised return on equity in Q1 2021 came in at 31% which, according to data from S&P Global, is the highest that has been since Q4 2006.
The difference between what JPMorgan earns on loans and pays for deposits fell to 1.69% in Q1 202, down from 2.37% a year ago.
Trustly, a Swedish payments company, is said to be planning to list on Nasdaq in Stockholm and will seek a valuation of about USD 9 billion.
Clearcover, an insurance startup, has raised USD 200 million in fresh capital in a funding round that is said to value it at USD 1 billion or more. Founded in 2016, Clearcover has been focusing on auto insurance so far but is said to be planning to expand into new areas.
The US bank stocks are now trading at about 2x their pandemic lows and have risen 26% year to date, outpacing the 11% gain in the S&P 500.
According to Piper Sandler, an investment bank, “guesstimate” there are already around 4,000 financial assets and processes operating on blockchain technology.
A Thought Worth Noting
“I’d bet hefty sums, in any currency, that non-bitcoin [blockchain] innovations will eventually matter far more.”
Gillian Tett, columnist, FT
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