Axa SA and National Australia Bank Ltd. agreed to buy asset manager Axa Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd. for $12.2 billion in the second-biggest acquisition in Asia during the past year.

Axa SA will get Axa Asia Pacific's Asian businesses, and Australia's biggest business lender is to take on its Australian and New Zealand assets, a statement said. Axa SA owns 54% of Axa Asia Pacific.

The agreement brings National Australia Bank nearer to winning a three-month takeover battle against AMP Ltd. for a business that would help it close in on Commonwealth Bank of Australia in asset management. Chief Executive Officer Cameron Clyne still faces the prospect of a rejection by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, whose verdict is due next month.

The purchase would let Axa SA simplify the management of its Asian business as the company seeks to more than triple earnings from emerging economies, to 15%, within five years. Axa Asia Pacific is responsible for Axa's life insurance and wealth management businesses in the region.

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