The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will again extend the review period of its merger authorisation of ANZ’s proposed application takeover Suncorp Bank.
ANZ said it has agreed to the competition regulator’s request for a nine-week extension of the review period, which was originally due on 12 June 2023. The new decision date is 28 July 2023.
News of the extension comes a fortnight after the ACCC released its ‘statement of preliminary views’ on ANZ’s takeover bid, casting doubt on the big four bank’s claims the $4.9 billion acquisition of its tier two rival would provide an overall positive public benefit.
As part of its assessment, the ACCC said it will “closely consider the overall impact of the loss of an established independent second-tier provider in the Australian banking industry, noting expansion from new or smaller providers is likely to be limited”.
Suncorp said it will also submit a comprehensive response to the ACCC’s statement of preliminary views, stressing that the sale remains “in the best interests of” its and ANZ’s customers.
“Suncorp maintains the view that the sale of Suncorp Bank to ANZ is in the best interests of its customers, employees, shareholders, the state of Queensland and the nation, and will result in a stronger insurance and banking system in Australia.”
Suncorp confirmed that, if the ACCC approves the takeover, the expected timeline for completion of the transaction remains the second half of the calendar year 2023.
Merger authorisations are a formal process undertaken by the ACCC under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The Act requires the competition watchdog to consider a merger authorisation application within 90 days of the application being lodged. Applicants may, however, agree to extend the timeframe.
Public submissions on the merger consultation can be submitted until the end of today (18 April 2023).