HSBC abandons bid for S. Africa’s Nedbank

Banking giant HSBC has said it has ended
talks with insurer Old Mutual over plans to buy its controlling stake in South
Africa’s fourth-biggest bank, Nedbank.

HSBC did not give a reason for
abandoning the bid.

Old Mutual said HSBC’s withdrawal was
not, as far as it was aware, related to any “adverse findings” during
HSBC’s investigation of Nedbank.

The news sent the shares of Old Mutual
and Nedbank lower.

In morning trade, Old Mutual shares were
down 7% at 135.1 pence, while in Johannesburg Nedbank fell 9% to 133.35 rand.

HSBC said last month that it was talking
to Old Mutual about buying its majority stake in Nedbank in a deal potentially
worth 49.9bn rand ($6.8bn; £4.4bn).

The announcement that HSBC was ending
talks came before this weekend’s deadline for the completion of an eight-week
period of exclusive discussions.

Europe’s largest bank said that
discussions about the potential acquisition had “not been successfully
concluded”, but added it remained committed to growing its business in
South Africa

Analysts said the withdrawal put a
question mark over the HSBC’s Africa strategy and suggested rivals such as
Standard Chartered could now bid for Nedbank.