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MILAN, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Shares in Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM) rose sharply in late afternoon trading on Monday as investors bet shareholders will approve this week a planned merger to create Italy's third-biggest.
Analysts said the fact that a higher-than-expected number of BPM shareholders had registered to attend an Oct. 15 extraordinary meeting due to vote on the tie-up increased the likelihood the merger would pass.
BPM's employee-shareholders back the deal with Banco Popolare after winning concessions on corporate welfare and redundancies and they are now more likely to reach the two-thirds majority needed to approve the merger -- which is opposed by pensioner-shareholders.
Shareholders in Banco Popolare are widely expected to back the deal.
Banco Popolare's shares were up 6 percent shortly before the market close, while BPM rose 5 percent. (Reporting by Andrea Mandala)