Talk of Suitors Lining up Lifts Axis Bank Shares
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