1. Discuss the recent changes in the banking industry that have made merger and acquisition a popular strategy to co-create value. Discuss with examples.

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Company HistoryWestpac was formally known as the Bank of New South Wales. WBC was founded in 1817 as the Bank of New South Wales and in 1982 merged with the Victoria-based Commercial Bank of Australia to become Westpac Banking Corporation. During the 1990s, WBC expanded through a number of regional bank takeovers, including Challenge Bank in Western Australia in 1995, Trust Bank New Zealand in 1996 and Bank of Melbourne in Victoria in 1997 (Westpac, 2009).

St.George was founded in 1937 as a housing-based financial institution, becoming Australia's largest building society before achieving full banking status in July 1992. Westpac merged with St.George on 1 December 2008 (St. George, 2009).

Major Customers & CompetitorsMajor customers include individual retail clients, small-to-medium businesses, major corporates and government. Competitors include other major banks (CBA, NAB and ANZ), regional banks and, in lending, mortgage brokers and originators.

Merger and acquisitionOver the past decade, the banking industry has experienced an unprecedented level of consolidation as mergers and acquisitions among large financial institutions have taken place at record levels (Sainsbury, 2008).

Merger and acquisition activity results in overall benefits to shareholders when the consolidated post-merger firm is more valuable than the simple sum of the two separate pre-merger firms. The primary cause of this gain in value is supposed to be the performance improvement following the merger. The research for post-merger performance gains has focused on improvements in any one of the following areas, namely efficiency improvements, increased market power, or heightened diversification (Sainsbury, 2008).

Bank merger and acquisition activity may also encourage improved revenue efficiency in a manner analogous to cost efficiency. Some recent deals, such as Westpac Bank and St. George Bank, have been motivated by potential gains in this area (Abraham, Deo & Irvine, 2008). According to this view,