HSBC is believed to be reconsidering its plans to launch a £5bn bid for a controlling stake in South African bank Nedbank, as its exclusive talks with majority owner Old Mutual draw to a close.
Shares in Nedbank fell 0.9 per cent to 147.73 rand (£13.59) yesterday, after South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan said he hadn’t yet been approached by HSBC about a takeover.
Gordhan said he could not estimate how long it would take to consider a bid, saying he expects to make a decision “when the letter comes”.
HSBC secured a two-month period of exclusive talks with Old Mutual over its 70 per cent stake, which are due to expire this weekend.
However, it is looking increasingly unlikely that the bank will make a bid before the exclusive talks end.
If HSBC walks away, rivals keen to improve their presence in the rapidly-growing African market could step into the game.
Standard Chartered has previously expressed an interest, though chief executive Peter Sands said on Wednesday that the bank’s £3.3bn rights issue was not for “a war chest for acquisitions”.
HSBC, Nedbank and Old Mutual were not available for comment.