Another US firm is backing out of foreign market expansion: Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Financial Group has reached a definitive agreement to sell the bulk of BT Financial Group to Westpac Banking Corp. an Australian bank. Principal will retain the BT Office Trust, an office -pace real estate trust, as well as the international fixed income and currency asset management businesses.
Westpac is making an initial payment of $500 million and has agreed to a future contingent payment of up to $80 million. Principal has estimated its after-tax proceeds at $750 million, which includes cash payments from Westpac, tax benefits and the discontinuation of debt-related costs from the acquisition of BT in 1999. Principal originally paid $1.4 billion for BT, according to Jeff Rader, a Principal spokesman.