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National Bank of New Zealand sale hotting up

National Bank of New Zealand sale hotting up

(New Zealand) Speculation surrounding the eventual buyer of the National Bank of New Zealand is hotting up with the ANZ viewed by many to be the favourite to make the purchase. Valued at $3.9 million, the British-owned National Bank has attracted a host of potential buyers including the ANZ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac and National Australia Bank.

The National Bank of New Zealand, which was established 131 years ago and has total assets of NZ$38.9 million, is currently undergoing a strategic review that is expected to take several months.

Although a National Bank spokesperson denied the review will definitely result in British owner Lloyds TSB selling the bank, industry sources report an information memorandum on the bank has been sent out to potential bidders.

A research report put out by Merrill Lynch identified the ANZ as the most likely buyer, given the bank’s strategic aim of being the number one or two bank in each of the markets it operates in. It currently occupies the number four position in New Zealand.

The ANZ, for its part, has engaged Morgan Stanley to advise on the possible sale, but hosed down speculation by saying its position as the smallest of Australia’s Big 4 banks made buying the National bank financially challenging.

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