NAB launches bid for AXA Asia Pacific’s Australian assets: Economy Roundup

NAB has stunned the financial services sector by unveiling a $4.61 billion bid for the Australian and New Zealand Assets of AXA Asia Pacific.

The bid, which comes just days after AMP launched a new bid for the assets. Both bidders plan to sell AXA Asia Pacific’s Asian business units to the French company AXA SA after completing the acquisition of the Australian and New Zealand businesses.

The NAB offer is valued at $6.43 in cash or $6.50 in for those investors who take a mix of cash and shares.

That trumps AMP’s bid, which valued the shares at $6.22.

Most importantly, NAB has the backing of the AXA Asia Pacific board.

AXA APH chairman Rick Allert said the NAB proposal was superior to the revised bid put forward by AMP and AXA SA earlier this week.

“The independent board committee believes the NAB proposal offers minority shareholders fair value for their investment in AXA APH and provides them with an attractive combination of the certainty of the NAB cash alternative and the upside of the NAB share and cash alternative,” Mr Allert said.

AXA SA company spokesperson Matt Pollard told Business Spectator the company was not in a position to comment on NAB’s proposal.

“We need to reflect carefully on the announcement and we need to consult with our partner in our bid, AMP, and when we have done that we will then make some sort of response to this announcement.”

Shares trend higher

Australian shares have moved higher in morning trade, with the benchmark ASX/S&P 200 index up 0.7% or 31.3 points to 4693.2 points at 12:25 AEDST.

Shares in AMP jumped 3.9% on the news of NAB’s bid, while shares in AXA Asia Pacific leapt 12% in anticipation of a takeover tussle.

The other big mover of the morning was News Corp, with its shares climbing 3.3% in morning trade.

Over in the United States, Wall Street fell back after the Fed voted unanimously to keep benchmark borrowing costs in a range of zero to 0.2% – a historic low.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10.88 points, or 0.10%, to end at 10,441.12. But the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 1.25 points, or 0.11%, to 1,109.18.

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