Bell Gully is pleased to have advised Fidelity Life, New Zealand's largest locally owned life insurer, on its agreement to acquire Westpac Group's New Zealand life insurance business and its associated equity funding arrangements.
In connection with the acquisition, Fidelity Life will enter into a 15-year strategic alliance with Westpac NZ and will be the exclusive distributor of life insurance to Westpac's retail customers. The transaction involves equity funding arrangements with Fidelity Life's largest shareholder the NZ Super Fund and new investor Ngāi Tahu Holdings.
The agreement is subject to regulator and Fidelity Life shareholder approvals, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
Fidelity Life Chief Executive Melissa Cantell said the transaction is a significant step for the company as it pursues its aspiration of reimagining life insurance for New Zealanders.
“We're delighted to be welcoming Westpac Life and Ngāi Tahu Holdings to Fidelity Life, and received exceptional support from Bell Gully across all aspects of the transaction to enable this to happen," Melissa said.
The Bell Gully team advising Fidelity Life was led by corporate partner Toby Sharpe, with support from a large Bell Gully team including Toni Forrest, Dean Oppenhuis and Gabby Smith.
Toby Sharpe: “It was fantastic to be able to support Fidelity Life as a new client on this significant acquisition and its long-term alliance with Westpac NZ."
“The transaction is another important development in the consolidation of the New Zealand life insurance sector, bringing together two key partners to deliver positive customer outcomes," Toby said.
This transaction adds to Bell Gully's extensive M&A experience in the insurance sector, including its role advising Resolution Life on the acquisition of AMP Life, IFLR Asia-Pacific's 2021 M&A Deal of the Year.