ralian wealth manager AMP and French insurer AXA launched a new $13.1bn-plus (£8.1bn) bid for AXA Asia Pacific, a move set to challenge banks' domination of the world's fourth-largest wealth market down under.
A deal would put AMP at the top of Australia's $1.2 trillion wealth management market, and end one of Asia's largest takeovers that has dragged on for a year.
It would also allow AXA to exit Australia and help it to focus on its stated goal of growing in Asia, where businesses in eight countries contributed 60 per cent of its operating earnings in the first half of 2010.
In a complex stock and cash deal, AMP will pay A$4.15bn for AXA Asia Pacific's Australia and New Zealand business, while AXA SA will pay A$ 10.4bn for the Asian assets, including taking over A$1.3bn in debt.
"This should eventually close the deal," said Tom Elliot, managing director at Melbourne-based hedge fund MM&E Capital. "The AXA Asia board has no other bidders and the deal meets the price they want. The only issue is it is heavily scrip-based."