Australian banking giant ANZ announced a deal worth 4.9 billion Australian dollars (3.3 billion euros) on Monday to take over Suncorp Bank, one of the biggest acquisitions in the sector in more than a decade. The takeover of the Queensland-based bank should allow ANZ to become the third mortgage lender in the country. But critics have warned the deal, which would be the biggest in Australia’s banking sector since 2008, could, if given the green light by regulators, reduce competition for the power of Australia’s big four banks.
“We know the government and regulators will rightly ask questions about the competition aspects of this transaction,” ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said in a statement. “As the smallest of the big banks, we believe a strong ANZ can be more competitive in Queensland and deliver better results for customers,” he added, citing the underlying investment.
ANZ plans to raise $3.5 billion to fund the deal by issuing additional shares to existing shareholders. The rest will be financed by existing capital. ANZ share trading was suspended in Australia and New Zealand until Thursday, the bank said, giving institutional investors time to respond to its offer. The acquisition, if approved by regulators, is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2023, he said.