Record Deal in Sale of GE Finance
In one of Australia’s largest ever transactions, a consortium of KKR & Co a private equity company, Varde Partners an alternative investment manager and Deutsche Bank agreed to acquire the Australia and New Zealand consumer-lending arm of GE Capital. The actual value paid in the transaction was not disclosed.
The trio announced that they had been attracted to the business that has over 3 million customers and a relationship that is long standing with many big retailers in both Australia and New Zealand.
A KKR spokesperson said that GE Capital was one of Australia’s most respected providers of finance to consumers.
General Electric has been reducing its GE Capital Corp its financing arm after it weighed the group down during the credit crisis of 2008-09.
GE has disposed as well of its real estate holdings, appliance unit and NBCUniversal stake. The streamlined finance unit of GE Capital is focusing on financing heavy equipment purchases, lending money to companies that are mid-sized and commercial real estate investment.
Duncan Berry the CEO at Australia and New Zealand GE Capital said the business would continue building its lending portfolio for mid market and its leasing business across the region.
GE Capital’s Rachel Cobb the managing director for consumer business said it would grow the consumer finance side as it looks to work with existing partners and customers.
Negotiations in this transaction have gone on for a number of months with others like Macquarie and Wesfarmers Bank involved with competing consortiums that were vying to acquire it.
The deal is the second transaction that is multibillion dollar in Australia in the past few weeks, following the acquisition of Japan Post of Toll Holdings a logistics and transport group for an estimated $6.5 billion. Later in 2015, Japan Post is scheduled to go public.
Following the sale GE Australia said it would continue providing commercial loans as well as lending to mid-market companies while providing commercial lease financing.