Third trader bidder fights for Kiwi Wealth, bids fly in

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Australian private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners withdrew from the auction last month, sources said, having been shortlisted for the second and binding bid phase.

Booster managed to sneak through much of the auction undetected, unlike Jarden and TA/Fisher Funds. It had Deutsche Bank’s M&A team, MinterEllison in New Zealand and Skye Capital Advisory retained to run due diligence and line up funding ahead of the final bid deadline.

Meanwhile, TA Associates, which has dealmakers Michael Berk and Edward Sippel hunting for financial services targets in the Asia-Pacific region, is keen to continue its run of recent industry consolidation that also saw it acquire Aon New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme and Master Trust late last year.

Kiwi Wealth is a default KiwiSaver provider, with about $N9 billion in its scheme, making it a substantial player in the country’s retirement savings market.

It’s owned by New Zealand Post and institutional investors NZ Super and Accident Compensation Corporation as part of Kiwi Group Holdings.

The auction comes after the bankers ran a strategic review, and advised their client there would be ample interest from potential buyers to run an auction.

Should Kiwi Group Holdings offload the unit as expected, it would be the shareholders’ third sale in quick succession. Other assets sold include online investment platform Hatch and an insurance business to nib Holdings.