ME Bank’s shareholders – who represent 26 industry super funds – have unanimously agreed to accept the all-cash offer from BOQ while retaining the ME brand, operations and Melbourne-based presence.
“Today’s decision represents a permanent shift for the better in the Australian banking landscape. This agreement brings together two culturally aligned organisations to form what will be an enhanced and influential banking alternative for customers,” said ME chairman James Evans.
“The increased scale and complementary offerings will benefit customers and employees alike. The combined group will be able to offer a wider network of service options, deeper resources, and the added reassurance that comes with a larger banking organisation.”
The offer price of $1.325 billion represents 1.15 times ME’s net tangible assets.
Rumours began circulating about the deal late last week, when BOQ entered a trading halt as it looked to raise capital from institutional investors for a potential acquisition. The purchase will give substantially BOQ greater scale and a chance at taking on Australia’s ascendant big four banks.
“We are truly excited to be able to welcome ME Bank customers and team members to the BOQ Group family. There is no doubt this is a tailor-made match because of our common objectives and customer-first cultures,” said BOQ managing director and CEO George Frazis.
“Our multi-brand strategy at BOQ means that the ME brand will be maintained, and their people will be able to continue doing what they do best – offering simple and straightforward banking products and terrific service to their customers. We are looking forward to the future with ME Bank on board.”