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Desjardins to Buy Western Financial for $439 Million

Desjardins Financial Group, Canada’s largest credit union, agreed to acquire Western Financial Group Inc. for C$443 million ($439 million) to expand in British Columbia and Alberta.

Desjardins, based in Levis, Quebec, will make a cash offer of C$4.15 per share for Western, the High River, Alberta-based insurer and provider of investment services, according to a joint statement. The offer is 69 percent higher than the closing price of Western’s shares yesterday.

Desjardins, led by Chief Executive Officer Monique Leroux, is seeking to expand beyond Quebec. Western, with half a million customers, has 121 offices in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, according to the statement.

“This transaction will allow us to accelerate our business development in Western Canada,” said Leroux. “We are always open to growth opportunities and partnerships that will further benefit our members and clients and contribute to the long-term development of our cooperative financial group.”

Western rose C$1.71, or 70 percent, to C$4.16 at the 1 p.m. close of trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Desjardins Securities Inc. is the financial adviser to Desjardins Financial Group and TD Securities is advising Western, according to the statement.

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