AMP shares jump after a report of a possible takeover by Macquarie Bank

Australia’s Elizabeth Moss competes in Women’s High Jump Stage in Buenos Aires at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Shares in financial services group AMP jumped after reports of a possible takeover offer by Macquarie Bank.

At the close, the shares were up 6.8% to $2.64.

The Australian newspaper reported Macquarie Group is said to be crunching the numbers on a tilt at AMP.

AMP last month announced the sale of its Australian and New Zealand insurance businesses to global wealth protection group Resolution Life for $3.3 billion.

That announcement sent AMP shares down 25%.

The financial services giant says the significant capital release from the sale will strengthen AMP’s balance sheet and will mean a switch in focus to the higher growth businesses of Australian wealth management, AMP Capital and AMP Bank.

However, some institutional shareholders say the sale was too cheap.

“We are extremely disappointed with the terms of AMP’s dilutive, under-priced and value destroying divestment of its Australian and New Zealand wealth protection and mature businesses,” Merlon Capital Partners said in a letter to AMP directors.

But AMP chairman David Murray has defended the sale of AMP Life.

“The shareholders appoint the board to make those decisions, and the board believes this is definitely in the long-term interests of AMP shareholders,” he told the ABC.

In its latest quarterly report, AMP revealed $1.5 billion in outflows from its Australian wealth management business following criticisms in the financial services royal commissioner, including that the company misled regulators.

The scandal claimed the scalps of former CEO Craig Meller, Chairman Catherine Brenner and three other board members.