Motley Fool Australia

AMP (ASX:AMP) asset sales part of wealth sector transformation

asx shares asset sales and mergers and acquisitions represented by two business men playing tug of war with rope
Image source: Getty Images

When AMP Limited (ASX: AMP) appointed a new chair, Debra Hazelton, she kicked off an asset portfolio review. This came on the heels of the company completing a $3 billion sale of its life insurance assets in July. AMP has made it clear that it is considering further asset sales after receiving many unsolicited bids. At the time of writing, many private equity firms are rumoured to be running the ruler over the troubled $4.6 billion company. In some cases they are considering specific parts of the business, like AMP Capital.

The AMP share price fell 5.2% over last week’s trading. This was largely due to the company reporting net cash outflows of $1.95 billion from its Australian wealth management arm during the September quarter. Over year-to-date trading, AMP has seen $6.35 billion in outflows. 

Which companies are in the asset sale race?

A column in The Australian has placed private equity firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) squarely in the frame, with the company believed to be working on a buyout proposal. What’s more, the private equity firm is currently completing the purchase of 55% of Colonial First State wealth management from Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA). Any potential acquisition would need to integrate with these assets in some manner. 

Coincidentally, AMP’s problems have occurred at the same time the large banks are retreating from the wealth management businesses.  Elsewhere in the sector, IOOF Holdings Limited (ASX: IFL) purchased MLC from National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) for $1.44 billion. Nonetheless, KKR was also a potential suitor at the time. As a result, Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) remains the last large bank to sell its wealth management business.

Ms Hazelton committed to providing an update on the portfolio review by the end of the year. However, a real estate asset sale may occur sooner than that due to buyer interest. Recently, Vicinity Centres (ASX: VCX) was rumoured to have joined the fray in the hunt for the AMP real estate portfolio. DEXUS Property Group (ASX: DXS), Lendlease Group (ASX: LLC) and Charter Hall Group (ASX: CHC) are among other companies mentioned. 

Foolish takeaway

While there are many rumours at play, it is uncertain exactly which way the management of AMP will proceed. Subsequently, there has been a lot of speculation about the asset sale of the company’s real estate portfolio. Yet, there remain persistent reports of approaches for either the AMP Capital assets, or for the entire company. 

Moreover, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has remained silent on the potential for consolidation. 

Where to invest $1,000 right now

When investing expert Scott Phillips has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the flagship Motley Fool Share Advisor newsletter he has run for more than eight years has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.*

Scott just revealed what he believes are the five best ASX stocks for investors to buy right now. These stocks are trading at dirt-cheap prices and Scott thinks they are great buys right now.

*Returns as of June 30th

Motley Fool contributor Daryl Mather has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

Related Articles…

Daryl Mather
Latest posts by Daryl Mather (see all)