Abbey National today refused to comment on what it calls "market speculation" following reports in t...
Abbey National today refused to comment on what it calls "market speculation" following reports in the press over the weekend and this morning that it is being pursued by a hostile bid from National Australia Bank.
Abbey is in demand because it would immediately give the purchaser access to a solid, national distribution network and in particular a foothold in the lucrative Southeast market.
NAB has already been busy buying banks such as Clydesdale and Yorkshire, while competitor Commonwealth Bank of Australia has made most noise in the UK market through its acquisition in the asset management sector of Colonial, now First State.
All Australia's big banks face the same problem: they must make foreign acquisitions if they are to continue growing as the Australian market is already sewn up, while the Australian government continues to frown on any foreign acquisition of its own bigger financial institutions.
Discussions with NAB regarding a friendly takeover have broken down, according to The Scotsman newspaper, which leaves NAB to make a hostile pitch.
With its share price hounded by failure in the corporate lending market during the past 18 months, which resulted in huge losses, Abbey will be easy prey for those with the cash to spend.
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