Australia: Competition watchdog blocks ANZ $4.9 billion takeover of Suncorp
The competition watchdog has blocked a $4.9 billion bid by ANZ to take over Suncorp’s banking arm.
For the merger to go ahead, the ACCC would have to be satisfied in all the circumstances that it would not be likely to substantially lessen competition, or that the likely public benefits would outweigh the likely public detriments.
ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said that banks like Suncorp, outside the big four, were important competitors given the limited opportunities for new banks in Australia.
He said the acquisition of Suncorp would increase the likelihood of the major banks “coordinating” on home loans, to the disadvantage of customers.
In a statement, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government acknowledged the decision and would not comment any further.
ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott said he was disappointed with the decision, adding that all of the relevant markets are intensely competitive and will continue to be intensely competitive after the acquisition.”
ANZ said it would continue preparations for the Suncorp takeover.