11 Nov 2009

Competition barrier unlikely in takeover - analyst

7:23 am on 11 November 2009

Regulators would be hard pressed to prevent the Australasian financial services group AMP's $A11 billion bid to acquire rival AXA Asia Pacific, an equity analyst says.

AMP and AXA Asia Pacific's French parent have put forward an offer of $5.34 a share, and intend to break up the company. AMP would take the Australasian assets, and its French parent would take the Asian assets.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reviewing the bid, and while there's been no application for the Commerce Commission here to do the same, its analysts are monitoring the situation.

Colin Whitehead, an equity analyst with investment group Fat Prophets, says the nature of the financial services industry means there would still be a competitive market if the takeover went ahead.

Mr Whitehead says consumers can access providers outside their local area, so the industry can have a structure of fewer dominant players and many smaller players without such a negative impact on competition as in other sectors.

He says if a major bank was behind the takeover bid, the regulators would be asking more questions.