AMP has been given the all clear to buy the Australian and New Zealand operations of rival wealth manager and insurer Axa Asia Pacific Holdings.
Clearance was granted from the Commerce Commission this morning, with the competition watchdog saying it was satisfied the proposed acquisition would not substantially lessen competition in any of the effective markets.
Sydney-based AMP already has approval of the Australian competition regulator the ACCC, which turned down National Australia Bank’s A$13.3 billion bid on the grounds it would reduce competition in the market.
Approval was sought from the New Zealand Commerce Commission in early May and the commission took seven weeks to decide it cleared all the hurdles.
In New Zealand, Axa and AMP both provide superannuation, investment, life insurance and financial planning products and services.
Commerce Commission chairman Dr Mark Berry said the commission had considered the impact of the acquisition on national markets for the provision of products and services in wealth protection, retail and wholesale funds management and financial planning advice.
“The commission considers competition from existing participants in eh affected markets would be sufficient to constrain the merged AMP and Axa.”
AMP is listed on both the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges.
Its plans to buy Axa Asia Pacific Holdings is part of a wider A$12.85 billion bid for the operations –later trumped by National Australia Bank $13.29 billion offer.
National Australia Bank continues to seek approval from Australia's competition regulator, with talks surrounding the two company’s d wrap platforms, distribution businesses and adviser networks.
The bank has extended an exclusivity agreement with Axa to mid July, to give it more time to win approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Ax Asia Pacific Holdings Limited is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and is 54% owned by Paris-based Axa S.A., with the balance of shares held by public shareholders.
Mon, 21 Jun 2010