Australia's NAB terminates 12.4 billion dollar AXA bid

14th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

National Australia Bank on Tuesday said it had terminated its 13.3 billion dollar (12.4 billion US) bid for AXA Asia Pacific after the competition watchdog said it would block the move.

NAB said the announcement followed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's decision to oppose its acquisition of AXA's Australian and New Zealand businesses citing competition concerns.

"NAB remains very committed to participating in the wealth management industry which is an important part of the bank's future," group chief executive Cameron Clyde said in a statement.

"However, considering all the options, continuing with this agreement is not in the best interests of shareholders."

NAB's AXA offer was rejected by competition officials for a second time last week over fears it would shrink the local financial services industry and analysts had expected the bank to walk away from the deal.

But NAB spokesman Steve Tucker said Sunday the bank was considering all options, adding that it had done "quite a lot" to try to address the ACCC's concerns since its initial offer was rejected in April.

Under the proposed arrangement, French parent company AXA SA would have taken charge of its subsidiary's Asian arm, while NAB would control the Australian and New Zealand businesses.

But the ACCC argued that AXA was emerging as a vigorous and effective competitor and the merger would have taken them out of the picture.

NAB was the second suitor on the scene, after rival AMP made an initial 11.5 billion US dollar which the ACCC has said does not raise the same competition concerns.

© 2010 AFP

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