Talk of Suit­ors Lin­ing up Lifts Axis Bank Shares

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Joel Re­bello & Anandi Chan­drasekhar

Mumbai: Talkof an­i­m­pend­ingsa­leof Axis Bank re­fuses to die down even as the pri­vate sec­tor lender called the news re­ports base­less and un­sub­stan­ti­ated. On Tues­day, shares of Axis Bank rose up to 5% af­ter a TV chan­nel re­ported that ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, In­dusInd Bank and Ko­tak Mahin­dra Bank have ap­proached the gov­ern­ment with in­for­mal merger pro­pos­als with the pri­vate lender. Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma said she is sur­prised by the mar­ket talk. “We havea­great­sto­rya­head­ona­s­tan­dalone ba­sis. We have got some great busi­nesses whether it is in the re­tail, small busi­ness or large cor­po­rate side. So we see no strate­gic ad­van­tage of any kind of acquisition and we cer­tainly have not beenap­proached­byany­one.SoIam­sur­prised that Axis just seems to be get­ting hit with the whole lot of base­less spec­u­la­tive ru­mours all the time,” Shikha Sharma told ETNow.

The ru­mours started ear­lier this month with spec­u­la­tion that Ko­tak is in talks to buy out its larger pri­vate sec­tor ri­val. In an in­ter­view with ET on Fe­bru­ary 10, Ko­tak Mahin­dra Bank’s ex­ec­u­tive vice-chair­man Uday Ko­tak said all op­tions to grow the bank’s as­sets and prof­itabil­ity are on the ta­ble but de­clined­to­com­men­ton the spe­cific is­sue of a pos­si­ble merger. Ko­tak, HDFC Bank and ICICI said they do not com­ment on mar­ket s p e c u l a - tions, while In­dusInd Bank did not re­ply to an email seek­ing com­ment. How­ever, late in the evening an un­named fi­nance min­istry of fi­cial was quoted by Bloomberg as say­ing that the news re­ports are just ru­mours and no­body has ap­proached the gov­ern­ment with re­gard to a merger with Axis Bank.

Late in the evening a fi­nance min­istry of­fi­cial was quoted by Bloomberg as say­ing that the news re­ports are just ru­mours

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