Exclusive: Heavyweights circle Hastings sale

At least three large-scale institutions are considering bids for the Westpac-owned fund manager.

Three blue-chip institutions are mulling bids for Australia’s Hastings Funds Management, which has been owned by Australian bank Westpac since 2005, according to sources familiar with the process.

US asset manager TIAA-CREF, insurance firm MassMututal and global asset manager Affiliated Managers Group, which owns Pantheon Ventures, are said to be eyeing the sale. The latter should take the form of a management buyout backed by third-party capital. Hastings’s employees already own some 20 percent of the fund manager, which had A$10.8 billion ($7.9 billion; €7.4 billion) of funds under management as at 30 June 2015.

The sale process is in its early days and is only expected to conclude around April 2016. Later this year, several senior Hastings employees are in line to net sizeable bonuses as part of the firm’s long-term incentive scheme. The scheme was implemented five years ago, with its first vesting period coming up around mid-December.

A sale of Hastings would come hot on the heels of this summer’s purchase of Sydney-based RARE Infrastructure by US asset manager Legg Mason. The US firm paid $205 million for a majority stake in the fund manager.

Hastings recently hit the headlines after leading an investment consortium made up of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Australia-listed Spark Infrastructure, Kuwait Investment Authority’s Wren House and Tawreed Investments, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, to win the A$10.3 billion long-term concession for New South Wales’ electricity grid.

The manager is said to be eying bids for Port of Melbourne as well as Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy, two distribution assets.