HSBC is poised to beat off competition from rival Standard Chartered to snap up a controlling stake in South African bank Nedbank this week for $4.4bn (£2.83bn).
HSBC is understood to be on the verge of defeating emerging markets specialist Standard Chartered to acquire what may be the last big South African bank that regulators allow overseas suitors to buy.
Anglo-South African insurer Old Mutual, which owns just over half of Nedbank, is thought to be trying to sell its stake to overhaul its business after the financial crisis, which hit its US and Bermuda activities.
The group unveiled the sale of its US life business earlier this month for $350m and hopes to float its US asset management unit next year.
An Old Mutual spokesman said: “We don’t comment on market rumours.”
HSBC, which has investment banking operations in South Africa, is thought to have appointed investment bank Lazard to advise on the possible takeover.
The group, which has described Asia as a key growth market in the next few years and Africa as a continent with potential, also declined to comment.
“In this particular instance, we’ve got nothing to say,” an HSBC spokesman said.
Nedbank has a substantial retail deposit base as a result of buying a number of building societies.