ANZ takes Suncorp merger rejection to competition tribunal

ANZ takes Suncorp merger rejection to competition tribunal

ANZ (ASX: ANZ) has delivered on its plans to appeal a decision from the competition watchdog to block its $4.9 billion takeover of Suncorp Group's (ASX: SUN) banking arm, which concluded there was potential the deal could make home loan customers worse off nationally.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also rejected the proposal based on its possible consequences for small to medium enterprise and agribusiness banking in Queensland.

In response, ANZ has today announced the filing of an application for a review from the independent Australian Competition Tribunal.

"Not only do we believe that ANZ’s acquisition of Suncorp Bank will create a combined bank which is better equipped to respond to competitive pressures to the benefit of Australian consumers, it will also deliver significant public benefits, particularly in Queensland," says ANZ chief executive officer Shayne Elliott.

"Queensland is thriving, with strong opportunities to further grow and prosper. We remain excited about the opportunities for ANZ and our customers in Queensland, and the benefits of bringing Suncorp Bank and its customers into the ANZ Group."

Suncorp has also made its own application to the tribunal for review in support of ANZ's application, and will "participate fully in its own right" throughout the process.

"Suncorp maintains the view that the sale of Suncorp Bank to ANZ is in the best interests of its customers, shareholders and employees and will deliver public benefits for Queensland and a net benefit to the Australian economy," the company stated.

Under Australian competition law, the Australian Competition Tribunal is the review body for merger authorisation decisions, and can vary or set aside the ACCC’s decision.

In addition to authorisation under Australia’s competition laws, the acquisition remains subject to additional conditions including approval from the Federal Treasurer and Queensland legislative amendments.

Despite the recent setback, ANZ reaffirmed expectations that the acquisition will occur in mid-2024.

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