WEALTH MANAGEMENT | Tony Chua, Australia

Extension of Axa Asia deal with NAB possible

Parties discuss move to sell assets to appease the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

Axa Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd. may extend an agreement to sell itself to National Australia Bank Ltd., the country's largest business lender, as the companies work to overcome regulatory opposition to the $11.6 billion deal.

Axa Asia Pacific, the asset manager that's 54 percent-owned by France's Axa SA, and National Australia Bank have discussed selling assets to appease the regulator, Axa Asia Pacific Chairman Richard Allert said. He added he still supports the offer and has held “appropriate” talks with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

The ACCC last month blocked the bid, saying it would harm development of the domestic wealth-management industry. Prolonging the takeover agreement beyond May 31 would be a blow to AMP Ltd., the Australian asset manager that's also pursuing Axa Asia Pacific and is seeking the backing of Allert and the independent directors.

"There would certainly be circumstances under which we would be prepared to extend," Allert told reporters in Melbourne after the company's annual meeting. He declined to specify what circumstances would merit that decision.

View the full story in Business Week.

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