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Top investor in BPER Banca says idea of merger with Banco BPM "fascinating" - paper

MILAN, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The top investor in Italy’s BPER Banca on Friday threw its weight behind the idea of a merger with rival Banco BPM to create a third large banking group in the country.

In an interview with Il Sole 24 Ore daily, Unipol CEO Carlo Cimbri said the idea of a combination of the mid-sized banks to create a group with 300 billion euros ($356.43 billion) in assets, rooted in the wealthy north, was “fascinating.”

“Media say Banco BPM is studying options. Were it to prioritise this idea, I think BPER couldn’t but analyse it with great attention,” Cimbri said.

Unipol is the single largest investor in BPER with a 19% stake. ($1 = 0.8417 euros) (Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Agnieszka Flak)