Wesfarmers, Apollo Said to Jointly Bid for GE Money in Australia

Wesfarmers Ltd. and Apollo Global Management LLC made a joint bid for General Electric Co.’s Australian consumer-finance arm, which may fetch as much as A$1.5 billion ($1.2 billion), people with knowledge of the matter said.

Macquarie Group Ltd. submitted an indicative offer with York Capital Management and Pepper Australia for the GE Money unit, while buyout firm KKR & Co. teamed with FlexiGroup Ltd. and Varde Partners, the people said. Private-equity group TPG Capital made a bid with sovereign wealth fund backing, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the process is private.

GE has been shrinking its financial services arm GE Capital Corp. after it threatened to drag down the group during the 2008-2009 credit crisis. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt has also sold the company’s century-old appliances unit, real estate holdings and a stake in NBCUniversal to focus on higher-margin industrial operations.

Bidders for the Australia and New Zealand consumer-lending business will gain access to a data room next month, with management presentations to come in in late January, according to the people. Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group AG are advising on the possible sale of GE Money, people familiar with the matter said in September.

The unit, which provides GE-branded credit cards and personal loans, has about A$7 billion of gross assets, the people said. It has about 100 branches and operates store cards for Perth-based Wesfarmers’ Coles supermarkets and Myer Holdings Ltd.

Jessica Power, a spokeswoman for General Electric in Sydney, declined to comment, as did representatives for the bidders. The Australian Financial Review reported the offers from Macquarie and KKR earlier today, citing unidentified people.

In July, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE sold a stake in its North American consumer-lending business Synchrony Financial in an initial public offering. It also spun off a majority holding in its Swiss consumer finance company Cembra Money Bank AG in October. Spain’s Banco Santander SA agreed in June to buy GE’s consumer finance unit in Sweden, Denmark and Norway for 700 million euros ($872 million).

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