The proposed sale of Trustees Executors (TE) has reached stalemate, according to sources close to the deal.
As reported in Australian press in January, UBS put TE out for second-round bids on February 5 with at least three prospective buyers lined up: listed Australian trustee firm, Equity Trustees (EQT); Link Market Services; and, diversified Australian financial services company, IOOF.
However, it is understood negotiations have stalled with price a sticking point. Sources told Investment News NZ (IN NZ) the top bid hit about $80 million, well below TE’s reported asking price of around $150 million.
TE, which oversees and administers about $80 billion, is owned by Sterling Grace, a vehicle of Switzerland-based US investor, John Grace.
There has been a flurry of trans-Tasman trustee company sales over the last couple of years, including EQT’s A$150 million buyout of ANZ Trustees in April 2014. In 2013, Perpetual Investments (Australia) bought listed firm Trust Company for A$241 after a protracted battle with EQT.
In New Zealand, businessman Andrew Barnes has led a buyout of several trustee firms including Perpetual Trust and Guardian Trust. This February Barnes, via his company Complectus, also purchased Covenant Trustee Services, which specialises in the retirement village sector.
Meanwhile, TE last week completed its transition to new back-office software provided by the ASX-listed Bravura Solutions. In a statement, Bravura said TE was its second NZ client to adopt the new ‘Sonata’ system as a managed service following insurance firm Partners Life.
Rob Russell, TEL chief, said it selected Sonata “after an extensive evaluation process”.
TE has been a Bravura client for 16 years, previously using its Talisman back-office software.
In February, Bravura moved its Auckland office to a larger space after seeing staff numbers double to 100 in a year.