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Asia-Pacific financial institutions M&A interest tracker

This tracker covers possible deals reported by media across the Asia-Pacific region over a certain period. The information is gathered from various news sources, excludes confirmed deals and is limited to potential acquisitions or sales involving companies or operations in the region. Click here to read the previous month's article.

A number of investors demonstrated interest in Indian financial companies in September, notably in the housing finance sector, as foreign investors eyed stakes in Reliance Home Finance Ltd. and PNB Housing Finance Ltd.

Over 20 private equity firms and home financiers submitted bids for a stake in PNB Housing Finance, The Economic Times reported, with U.S.-based Blackstone Group LP the only bidder to make an all-cash offer. Other bidders included Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd., Warburg Pincus LLC and Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd. The publication had reported previously that Bandhan Bank Ltd. and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte. Ltd. may also have submitted bids for the stake.

PNB Housing Finance was expected to shortlist seven potential buyers by Sept. 23, and the entire process is expected to complete by December. Punjab National Bank and Carlyle Group LP are looking to sell at least a 51% stake in the housing finance unit.

Meanwhile, three foreign entities have shown interest in a 25% stake in Reliance Home Finance, the Press Trust of India reported. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board and GIC are reportedly interested in a stake in Reliance Home Finance. A deal could reach between 15 billion rupees to 20 billion rupees.

The company had announced Sept. 4 that it was in exclusive talks with an overseas institutional investor over a potential investment.

Below is a snapshot of September reports of possible deals compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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India's housing finance sector was not the only one with a number of potential deals brewing. Several investors have held initial talks for a potential acquisition of up to 30% in Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd. Private equity firms Blackstone Group and Carlyle Group are in discussions to acquire a stake in the Indian bank, as well as Singapore's DBS Group Holdings Ltd., The Economic Times reported. Lakshmi Vilas Bank plans to dilute its stake by between 26% and 30%, but may sell a stake of up to 51% if the Reserve Bank of India allows it to do so.

Another private equity firm, J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC, is looking to acquire Ambit Holdings Pvt. Ltd.'s stake in their India-based joint venture, Ambit Flowers Asset Reconstruction, Mint reported. J.C. Flowers and Ambit Holdings own 47.5% each in the joint venture, while entrepreneur Jerry Rao holds the remaining 5% stake.

Meanwhile, Australia's largest banks continued to look into divesting their noncore assets as part of moves to focus on their core banking markets in Australia and New Zealand.

Westpac Banking Corp. is mulling over selling its financial planning arm, and has assessed market appetite for its in-house financial planners, The Australian Financial Review reported. Any potential sale will only include the in-house financial planners as Westpac is said to be committed to other parts of its wealth management business.

Further, Commonwealth Bank of Australia is selling an 80% stake in its Indonesian insurance joint venture, PT Commonwealth Life, a sale that could be valued at between US$250 million and US$300 million, Reuters reported. U.K.-based Prudential PLC and Canada's Sun Life Financial Inc. are among the interested buyers that submitted second-round bids, joining FWD Group Management Holdings Ltd., Great Eastern Holdings Ltd. and PT Asuransi Jiwa Sequis Life in vying for the stake. CBA will carry out a short-listing process in the next few weeks.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. is also looking to exit an Indonesian investment. The Australian bank has revived efforts to sell its 38.8% stake in PT Bank Pan Indonesia Tbk, Bloomberg News reported. ANZ plans to gauge buyer interest and has tapped Morgan Stanley to help find a buyer. ANZ first attempted to off-load its stake in Bank Panin in 2013 but was blocked following a dispute over board representation. It again sought to sell its stake in 2015 but plans were delayed following the death of a member of the family that owns a controlling stake in the Indonesian lender.

Further articles about other deal possibilities

Report: CHAMP to divest online investment platform Pepperstone

Report: Suruga Bank founding family to divest holdings following loan scandal

Report: IFC seeks buyer for Vietinbank stake

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Japan's Orix eye controlling stake in IL&FS

Bank of Baroda to sell financial assets

Report: BNP Paribas Cardif looking to sell stake in India-based joint venture

Report: Bank of India seeks to raise 8B rupees from stake sales

Report: Chinese sovereign wealth fund eyes HNA's stake in Deutsche Bank