[KUALA LUMPUR] Investment banks are rushing to court Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) with a range of M&A ideas, convinced its arch-rival's plan to acquire two lenders will push Malaysia's top bank to do a deal of its own.
CIMB Group Holdings' proposal to buy RHB Capital Bhd and Malaysia Building Society Bhd would make it the country's biggest bank by assets and give it an enviable lead in domestic loans.
It comes ahead of a planned partial integration of South-east Asian economies that is due to begin by the end of next year, with countries in the 10-nation alliance keen to build national champions to bolster their banking systems.
Maybank has expressed interest in RHB in the past, but bankers familiar with its thinking said the lender would wait to see if CIMB can successfully pull off the acquisition before making any M&A moves. If talks fall through, RHB might be back in its sights.