ACCC Delays Suncorp-ANZ Merger Decision
(1 August 2023 – Australia) The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has delayed its decision on the A$4.9 billion ANZ-Suncorp merger.
The corporate regulator will publish its final say on August 4. The new date represents the second extension to the investigation which was first scheduled to be finalised in June 2023.
The deal for ANZ to acquire Suncorp’s banking arm was announced in July 2022 however the drawn out regulatory review has frustrated both groups and elicited criticism from non-Big Four regional competitor Bendigo & Adelaide Bank. ANZ and Suncorp rejected their claims outright.
“I still consider that there is a real chance that the merged Bendigo and Suncorp entity could be a more effective competitor in the alternative buyer counterfactual” commented Flint Global Partner Mary Starks, the independent expert engaged by the ACCC to assess the merger.
“None of the matters which Ms Starks identifies as potentially making a combined Bendigo-Suncorp entity a more effective competitor withstand scrutiny. Expressed somewhat bluntly, it is not the case that one plus one equals two in this context; instead, one small bank plus one small bank ultimately results in one small merged bank” Suncorp responded in a public statement.