Three leading City analysts are tipping Alliance & Leicester as an
acquisition target for Nat-ional Australia Bank once the UK bank's takeover
protection clause expires next April.
The UK's sixth-biggest mortgage lender has emerged as the market favourite
to be snapped up by NAB, which is on a UK acquisition trail.
Banking analysts claim A&L is not financially strong enough to compete in
the current ultra-low-margin environment.
One analyst says A&L's “mediocre” results this year, combined with the
diminishing number of takeover prospects in the UK, make it a natural
target for NAB.
Another suggests that NAB may also be considering a bid for Bradford &
Bingley but believes that A&L is the more likely target as it has better
synergies with the Australian bank.
NAB already owns Yorkshire, Clydesdale and National Irish Banks and has
made no secret of its desire to establish a bigger presence in the UK
A third analyst says: “A&L is the most obvious target for NAB and it needs
to do a deal. A&L has diversified into a number of areas which would
overlap with NAB plus its formal protection ends in April.”
A NAB spokesman says: “We have identified the UK as an area for growth and
we are keeping an eye on any potential acquisitions.”
An A&L spokesman says: “We do not comment on speculation but the chairman
has repeatedly said we wish to remain independent.”