Client’s strategic goals forefront as KWM assists NAB with growth-focussed neobank acquisition

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King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is pleased to have advised National Australia Bank (NAB) on reaching agreement to acquire Australian neobank 86 400 by a scheme of arrangement.

The proposed acquisition is a major part of NAB's strategy to accelerate the growth of its UBank digital bank. NAB will offer its customers an enhanced experience, by combining UBank's existing brand and customer base, with the technology platform and experience of 86 400 and NAB's capital and balance sheet strength.

KWM advised NAB on all aspects of the transaction, including NAB's acquisition of a sizeable minority stake in 86 400 in late 2020, followed by the proposed acquisition of all remaining shares via scheme of arrangement.

The KWM team was led by M&A Partner Diana Nicholson, supported by a multidisciplinary team including Partners Caroline Coops (competition advice) and Anne-Marie Neagle and Katherine Forrest (banking regulatory advice), Senior Associate Rebecca Williams (M&A) and Special Counsel Sean Field ( the KWM Tech Law team).

Commenting on the transaction, lead partner Diana Nicholson said: "We are delighted to have advised NAB on this strategic new combination of 86 400 and UBank, which is in line with NAB's long-term vision for UBank and its digital strategy. The transaction is also indicative of the value creation we're seeing in this sector, which is an area of focus and strength for our firm."

KWM will continue to assist NAB with the ongoing work required to secure the necessary approvals for completion, including regulatory approvals from the Treasurer, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and approval of the scheme by the Federal Court.

This acquisition continues KWM's role working with NAB to execute its  strategy. In 2020, KWM & NAB worked together on the $1.4bn sale of MLC wealth management to IOOF and  a range of capital-raising projects including NAB's Capital Notes 5 and NAB's ASX $4.25bn placement and share purchase plan.