Investment firm takes 80% stake in non-bank

by Miklos Bolza19 Dec 2017
Non-bank lender La Trobe Financial has announced a new strategic partnership that will see asset management firm Blackstone become a majority stakeholder in the firm.

The deal is effective immediately with Blackstone taking up an 80% equity stake in the non-bank for an undisclosed sum.

Blackstone’s support capabilities and global networks are set to help La Trobe strengthen its position in the SME and business lending market segments and ensure its continued growth in the future.

Under the arrangement, La Trobe’s Greg O’Neill will continue as president and CEO as will the existing executive team. O’Neill will also continue to hold a 20% equity stake in the company. The firm will retain its existing board and will appoint two additional representatives from Blackstone.

Despite the stakeholder change, La Trobe will continue to operate its business as usual with no impacts to borrowing customers or changes to the terms and conditions for existing loans.

“The opportunity to partner with Blackstone was the perfect fit for our staff, business and customers,” said Greg O’Neill, president and CEO of La Trobe Financial.

With the specialist credit space experiencing dramatic upheaval, it is important for La Trobe to build on its capital position, expand its networks and draw on global best practice, he said.

“Blackstone is an outstanding counterparty for our business and we are delighted to partner with them. We look forward to working closely with them over the coming years to expand and substantially grow our retail and institutional investment programs and our specialist lending offerings.”

On a more personal level, La Trobe’s executives look forward to working with Blackstone to maximise the benefits for all customers, he added.

Malcolm Jackson, managing director of tactical opportunities at Blackstone, also expressed his pleasure at partnering with La Trobe.

“The calibre of the La Trobe management team, combined with their high quality loan origination and underwriting, both in the residential and commercial markets, and a strategy that is focused on realising growth opportunities at this important time in the cycle, means we look forward to a strong and productive partnership.”

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