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ANZ gets clearance to buy NBNZ

Thursday 25th September 2003

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The Commerce Commission has cleared ANZ Banking Group (New Zealand) Limited to acquire the National Bank from United Kingdom-based Lloyds TSB Bank plc.

"The commission is satisfied that the proposed acquisition would not have, nor would be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in the relevant markets due to the competition provided by the other major banks," Commerce Commission acting general manager Geoff Thorn said.

The clearance comes after ANZ had already conceded that it would breach Commerce Commission "safe harbour" thresholds in several banking markets.

ANZ said, in its application, that the breaches would be in the mortgage market, the personal loan market, the small and medium-sized business market, middle corporate market, the term deposit and savings market, and credit-card issuing.

ANZ as the only bidder seeking Commerce Commission approval after Westapc pulled out of the race.

The National Bank is expected to sell for between $5.5 billion to $7 billion.

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