the adviser logo

ANZ and Suncorp to ask Tribunal to review merger denial

by Annie Kane12 minute read

The two banks will ask the Australian Competition Tribunal to review the ACCC’s decision not to grant them merger authorisation.

The heads of ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) and Suncorp Group will seek a review from the independent Australian Competition Tribunal over the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) decision to deny them merger authorisation.

The ACCC announced on Friday (4 August) that it would not grant authorisation as it believed that such a merger could substantially lessen competition in the supply of home loans nationally, small- to medium-sized enterprise banking in Queensland, and agribusiness banking in Queensland.

Under Australian competition law, a decision by the ACCC to not grant authorisation can be reviewed by the independent Australian Competition Tribunal.


A review by the Tribunal is a rehearing or a reconsideration of a matter. Under such a review, the Tribunal may perform all the functions and exercise all the powers of the original decision-maker for the purposes of review. It can affirm, set aside, or vary the original decision.

Should the Tribunal provide its approval, the sale of Suncorp Bank to ANZ would be subject to the amendment of the State Financial Institutions and Metway-Merger Act and final approval from the federal Treasurer under the Financial Sector (Shareholdings) Act.

If this approval happens, the merger would complete by the middle of the 2024 calendar year.

Banks continuing merger preparations

Noting the ACCC’s decision on Friday, ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said: “We are naturally disappointed and disagree with the ACCC’s decision. We are closely reviewing the determination and will seek an independent decision through the avenues of review available to us.

“We believe the acquisition will improve competition, which will benefit Australian consumers, particularly in Queensland. All of the relevant markets are intensely competitive and will continue to be intensely competitive after the acquisition.

“Indeed, the acquisition will create a combined bank which is better equipped to respond to competitive pressures, and deliver significant public benefits, particularly in Queensland.”

While the acquisition remains subject to these conditions, ANZ said it would continue its preparations for the integration of Suncorp Bank into ANZ.

Similarly, Suncorp Group chairman Christine McLoughlin said Suncorp was “surprised and disappointed” with the determination.

She added it would “fully support ANZ through the next step in the merger authorisation process”, being a referral of the ACCC’s decision to the Australian Competition Tribunal.

“When we embarked on this transaction, we were of the firm belief it was in the best interests of our customers, shareholders and employees and that it would provide a net benefit to the Australian economy,” Ms McLoughlin said.

“Together with external economic and industry experts, we determined that this deal would not adversely impact the competitive dynamics in the markets in which we operate.

“There is nothing we’ve seen throughout the ACCC process that has caused us to change our view on these matters and we believe the Tribunal will accept the merits of our case.

“In fact, the 12 months that have passed since the transaction was announced have only reinforced the rationale for the sale, and the importance of the benefits it will deliver for our stakeholders, the state of Queensland and the broader public.

“Together with ANZ, we will make our case to the Tribunal, which is led by a justice of the Federal Court of Australia. The Tribunal will look at all of the evidence with fresh eyes before forming its own view.”

Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston said the decision meant employees, customers, shareholders, and the broader Australian public wouldn’t reap the many benefits the deal would deliver in the near term.

“This includes the significant jobs and investment package Suncorp and ANZ agreed with the Queensland Government as a consequence of the transaction, and which remains contingent on all approvals being receive,” Mr Johnston said.

Mr Johnston also said the group remained fully committed” to Suncorp Bank while the process continued.

“We will continue to deliver valued banking and insurance products and services through our trusted brands and dedicated people. Our focus on delivering for our customers, communities and shareholders does not change,” he said.

The ACCC’s full reasons will be released Monday (7 August) following confidentiality checks with relevant parties.

[Related: Home loan competition concerns stymie ANZ-Suncorp merger]

anz suncorp branches ta dqxy k


You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!
Read the latest issue of The Adviser magazine!
The Adviser is the number one magazine for Australia's finance and mortgage brokers. The publications delivers news, analysis, business intelligence, sales and marketing strategies, research and key target reports to an audience of professional mortgage and finance brokers
Read more