ANZ gets green light to buy Suncorp Bank in $8 billion deal

ANZ gets green light to buy Suncorp Bank in $8 billion deal

The Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) has approved ANZ’s proposed acquisition of Suncorp Bank, the regional banking arm of Suncorp Group, in an $8 billion deal that will boost ANZ’s presence in Queensland and across the country.

The logo of the ANZ Banking Group is displayed in the window of a newly opened branch in central Sydney

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The ACT’s decision, announced on Tuesday, overturned the earlier rejection of the deal by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which had raised concerns about the impact of the merger on competition and consumer choice in the banking sector.

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ANZ and Suncorp had appealed the ACCC’s decision to the ACT, arguing that the deal would deliver significant public benefits, such as increased investment, innovation, and efficiency, and that it would not substantially lessen competition in any relevant market.

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The ACT agreed with the parties, finding that the deal would not result in a substantial lessening of competition in any of the markets identified by the ACCC, such as retail banking, small business lending, and agribusiness banking. The ACT also found that the deal would generate public benefits that would outweigh any potential detriments, such as cost savings, economies of scale and scope, improved customer service, and enhanced financial stability.

ANZ’s CEO, Shayne Elliott, welcomed the ACT’s decision, saying that it was “a significant milestone and an important step forward in the process”. He added that ANZ remained committed to completing the acquisition as soon as possible once all sale conditions were met, and that ANZ looked forward to bringing Suncorp Bank’s customers and employees access to the best of ANZ’s platforms and technology.

uncorp Bank is a high-quality business with a strong team and an excellent customer base, especially in Queensland, where it has a market share of about 15%. It offers a range of banking products and services, including home loans, personal loans, credit cards, deposits, and wealth management. It also has a network of 115 branches and 1,800 ATMs across Australia.

ANZ entered an agreement to purchase Suncorp Bank in July 2022, in a move to accelerate the growth of ANZ’s retail and commercial businesses while offering better outcomes for Suncorp Bank’s customers. The deal is expected to increase ANZ’s market share in retail banking from 15.9% to 18.2%, and in small business lending from 17.4% to 19.8%.

The completion of the deal is still subject to legislative amendments by the Queensland Parliament and approval by the Federal Treasurer. ANZ said it had received “constructive feedback” from the regulators and was confident that the deal would be approved.

The deal is the largest banking merger in Australia since the global financial crisis, and comes amid a wave of consolidation in the sector, as banks face increasing competition from fintechs, neobanks, and non-bank lenders. Earlier this year, Citi completed the sale of its Australian consumer business to National Australia Bank, while Westpac sold its New Zealand business to Kiwibank.
Source : CNBC

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