Macquarie gets ANZ acquisition green light

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will not oppose a bid by Macquarie to acquire ANZ's dealer financing business.

The ACCC noted that both the bidder, Macquarie Group, and the acquisition target – ANZ's Esanda Dealer Finance business – provide motor vehicle finance to motor vehicle dealerships and consumers throughout Australia.

The commission concluded that the possible acquisition was not likely to substantially lessen competition in the market for the supply of bailment finance and point-of-sale (POS) finance facilities to motor vehicle dealerships.

"The ACCC had some concerns that the proposed acquisition may lead to increased bailment interest rates (or lower commissions to dealers on POS finance), particularly for dealerships that do not have access to an aligned or in-house finance provider," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

"However, the ACCC concluded that on balance the combination of existing and potential competitive constraints would be sufficient to prevent a substantial lessening of competition as a result of the possible acquisition.

"The merged entity will face competition from Westpac/St George and manufacturer-aligned financiers as well as the possibility of new entry, and pressure from vehicle manufacturers (OEMs) to ensure that their dealers' finance offers remain competitive with those of other dealers."

ANZ Banking Group has pushed back the final bid date for its Esanda business unit to next week to accommodate bidder requirements, according to The Australian Financial Review.

The Fairfax-owned paper reported that specialist lender Pepper was considering a bid for the ANZ unit but "is understood to have only committed to a formal tilt in recent weeks".

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