Some of the world's largest private equity and funds management firms are among those jostling to buy Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)'s BT superannuation unit and will learn by the end of January 2022 if they have made it to the auction's next round. Several sources close to the process said that Westpac, after receiving expressions of interest in mid-December 2021, planned to inform parties of a short list for the superannuation unit late in January 2022 ahead of releasing more detailed sale information and then opening a dataroom. The division, which manages $45.4 billion, may fetch as much as $400m, if the bank opts to wear most of the transaction costs. The Australian revealed that first-round offers - which are not binding - for Westpac's superannuation business were due in -December. That came as the bank also axed as many as 50 roles in the unit to make it more efficient and gel with a broader cost-cutting drive. Expressions of interest for the BT unit were separately lobbed by industry superannuation behemoth AustralianSuper, and KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE:KKR) with its partner Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA). Apollo Global Management, Inc. (NYSE:APO), CC Capital, The Carlyle Group Inc. (NasdaqGS:CG) and J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC were also separately involved in the sale process, sources said, but they noted that some interested parties were seeking to form a bidding consortium ahead of the auction's next round. The Vanguard Group, Inc. had also submitted an expression of interest to buy the Westpac division and is also assessing whether it can pick up an investment management role. Sources on January 6, 2022 said Westpac's preference was to sell the superannuation business to a player with an existing licence, given a trustee board needs to ensure any deal is in members' best interests. The bank is also assessing an alternative structure that would bring in new investment managers and trustees - then conduct a transfer of funds and members to a new owner. A Westpac spokesman declined to comment on the sale process.