Desjardins set to buy Western Financial

By Steven Lamb | December 29, 2010 | Last updated on December 29, 2010
1 min read

Desjardins Financial Group has struck a deal to acquire Western Financial Group, the largest insurance and financial services retailer in Western Canada, for $443 million. Desjardins is paying a 70% premium to Western Financial’s closing share price on the TSX on December 22, 2010.

“This transaction will allow us to accelerate our business development in Western Canada, and in that way, it is perfectly aligned with our strategic plan,” said Monique F. Leroux, president, CEO and chair of the board for Desjardins Financial Group.

“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.”

The transaction has been approved by Western Financial’s board, which has unanimously resolved to recommend that holders of common shares accept the offer.

“We are confident that our acquisition by the Desjardins Financial Group, a rapidly expanding and innovative winner in Canadian financial services, will serve the interests of our shareholders, customers, employees and communities,” said Scott Tannas, founding president and CEO of Western Financial Group. “At a time when other smaller financial services companies are being swallowed up into monolithic corporate entities, our special Western Financial Group brand – a brand with deep roots in the heartlands of Canada – will be maintained and, indeed, enhanced, under the broad Desjardins umbrella.”

Western Financial serves roughly 500,000 customers from its 121 offices in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Steven Lamb