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CBA pushes for Colonial merger

Friday 28th April 2000

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The Commerce Commission has received its second application for a major merger in the finance industry in the past few weeks. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has asked for clearance to merge with Colonial in this market.

CBA owns 75% of ASB Group which owns the local trading bank ASB, ASB Life and Sovereign.

Colonial is a diverse international financial services group based in Australia and in this country offers insurance, investment, superannuation and retirement services.

The proposed acquisition is the New Zealand arm of the planned merger of CBA and Colonial in Australia.

Some lawyers have advised businesses planning to merge to fast-track the deals before the government revamps the Commerce Act and tightens up anti-competitive rules.

The Commerce Act prohibits business acquisitions that result in dominance being acquired or strengthened in any market.

The act gives the commission 10 working days to make its decision - with a decision in this case expected on May 10.

The commission has received an application for clearance to merge New Zealand Insurance and State Insurance.

The proposal is the local arm of the proposed merger of their British-based parent companies, CGU plc which owns NZI and Norwich Union plc, which in turn owns State Insurance.

A decision on that application is due on May 9.

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