Speculation around a takeover bid by UniCredit on the Italian Banco BPM

Posted 14 Feb. 2022 at 18:41

Andrea Orcel has slammed the door on negotiations with Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS), but he could very soon open those with a view to a merger with Banco BPM. In any case, this is the hypothesis put forward byIl Messaggero» which echoed on Friday a “possible buyout offer from UniCredit. The Roman daily reported ” rumors, from government sources and also accredited by financial sources “. They sent the stock of Banco BPM up nearly 10%, which has risen nearly 25% over the past week.

UniCredit is considering all options

This scenario of consolidation of the banking sector is regularly mentioned by the transalpine press. Andrea Orcel, yet nicknamed “the king of deal makers”, had ruled out any merger and acquisition operation when presenting his 2022-2024 strategic plan. ” I don’t even consider them “, he commented, referring to the failure of negotiations with the Italian government for the takeover of BMPS. But UniCredit’s reaction to the Banco BPM takeover rumors is not so emphatic. A spokesperson assures that the Milanese bank will continue “ assess all available strategic options and keep the market informed of any concrete developments “.

A “flash takeover” if conditions permit

Giuseppe Castagna, the boss of Banco BPM, is in any case open. His bank is on the market, if anyone is interested, all they have to do is show up “, he keeps repeating. It would favor a merger with a credit institution of a similar size to its own, such as BPER or Crédit Agricole Italia. For the moment, he claims to have received no concrete expressions of interest from UniCredit. The markets and the Italian financial press believe, however, that the launch ” of a flash takeover bid ”, if the conditions allow it, is probable. UniCredit, which has just given up an acquisition in Russia, has 5 billion euros of available liquidity. These could be used in part for an operation which, according to analysts at Equita, ” would significantly strengthenits position in the peninsula by closing the gap with Intesa Sanpaolo “.

The government wants a strong banking sector

Banco BPM, born in 2017 from the merger between Banco Popolare and Banca popolare di Milano, is the third Italian banking group in terms of assets, behind Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit. The bank has around 4 million customers, 1,400 branches and 22,000 employees. Its capitalization just exceeds 5 billion euros, or one seventh of that of UniCredit.

Their merger would give birth to a group which would represent 11% to 18% of the entire Italian market and 10% to 20% of that of the North, the richest and most industrial in the country. This possible consolidation of the banking sector is judged positively by the government of Mario Draghi. ” It is not up to us to interfere in the choices of private banksreacted the Minister of the Economy Daniele Franco, but it is in our interest to have a solid, efficient system that supports the economy “.

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