CBA software review prompts bank to sell stake in Visa

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CBA software review prompts bank to sell stake in Visa

Speeds up writedown of software.

The Commonwealth Bank has sold its remaining stake in payments company Visa for $439 million after undertaking an internal review of its software assets that prompted it to reduce the value of the technology faster than it had planned.

The bank today revealed a recent review of digital and direct banking capitalised software assets, instigated by a "rapidly changing technology environment", had resulted in its decision to bring forward their amortisation to a value of $275 million after tax.

The sale of its remaining 49 percent stake in Visa - for an after tax profit of $278 million - offsets the software writedown.

Westpac's move to accelerate amortisation of its own software assets in November last year saw its capitalised software balance drop by $505 million pre-tax in its last financial year.

In May this year, similar moves by ANZ Bank resulted in an accelerated amortisation charge of $556 million, while in August insurer IAG took a $198 million pre-tax hit to its full-year results after speeding up the amortisation and impairment of its capitalised software assets.

CBA, and Australia's other major banks, gained stakes in Visa as part of the company's US$18 billion IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in 2008.

The bank sold 51 percent of its stake in Visa in the same year for $355 million.  

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