Exterior view of the new global headquarters of Discovery in Sandton. Photo: Supplied
JOHANNESBURG - Discovery, the financial services group, is readying itself to launch its much-touted bank after the Competition Commission approved its R1.8billion deal with FirstRand to exit its Discovery Card joint venture. 

The transaction, which will be heard by the tribunal today, would see Discovery Bank control the card transfer business. 

A statement from the Competition Tribunal said the Competition Commission had recommended that it approve the deal without conditions. 

“The Competition Commission, which assesses large mergers before referring them to the Tribunal for its decision, evaluated the transaction and concluded that it was unlikely to raise competition concerns,” the Tribunal said. 

Discovery currently holds a 74.99percent stake in the Discovery Card business, with FNB parent company FirstRand holding the remaining 25.01percent. Discovery Bank was granted a banking licence last year and will enter a South African retail banking market dominated by Standard Bank, Absa, FirstRand’s FNB, Nedbank and Capitec.