Charter Hall drops interest in Hastings

It is the second time a bid to sell the Australian fund manager has broken down, although owner Westpac remains keen to divest.

An attempt by Australian property group Charter Hall to buy Hastings Funds Management has failed after talks between the pair broke down.

Charter Hall had entered into exclusive discussions with Westpac bank, owner of Hastings, late last month as the former looked to expand across the real asset class.

However, in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Charter Hall said it “has determined not to proceed with further due diligence on the acquisition of Hastings Management Proprietary Limited”.

Westpac added that the discussions had “ceased” and that it will “continue to assess sale options and remains committed to Hastings’ clients and the business”.

Hastings could not be reached for further comment before the time of publication.

The latest development means it is now the second time in 18 months that Westpac has failed to agree a deal to sell the Melbourne-based fund manager. US firms TIAA-CREF and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance were believed to have been front runners in the race last year, but a deal was scrapped “for various reasons, including current external market conditions”, Westpac said at the time. The bank had been looking for a fee of about A$500 million ($396.4 million; €338.2 million), sources indicated.

Hastings manages about A$12.8 billion across debt and equity platforms on behalf of its clients. Westpac initially bought into Hastings in 2002 before taking full control in 2005.