June 5, 2020 / 11:17 AM / a month ago

Banca Profilo shares jump as biggest shareholder lays ground for possible takeover

MILAN, June 5 (Reuters) - Shares in Italy’s Banca Profilo surged more than 17% on Friday after the lender’s majority shareholder announced plans to extract value from its 53.5% stake, laying the ground for a possible takeover.

Sator Private Equity Fund’s decision regarding its Profilo shareholding was “consistent with its investment policies and the imminent end of the fund’s duration”, Banca Profilo said in a statement.

The bank did not specify Sator’s plans, but ‘extracting value’ usually refers to selling a shareholding.

Sator was founded by Matteo Arpe, a former top executive at Mediobanca.

He is credited with the turnaround of Rome-based bank Capitalia, of which he was chief executive for four years before it merged with UniCredit in 2007.

By 0942 GMT shares in Profilo were suspended due to excessive volatility after a jump of 17.52% on unusually high volumes.

“Investors probably bet on M&A opportunities. If Sator sells its stake, Profilo could become prey at a time when the issue of banking consolidation is particularly hot,” a Milan-based trader said.

Sator, which is advised by Lazard, will check with the fund’s clients whether they were interested in directly investing in Profilo, the bank added.

Profilo, in its new industrial plan to 2023 set out on Friday, does not rule out growing externally, both in Italy and abroad, especially in asset management and financial technology. (Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro and Claudia Cristoferi, editing by Louise Heavens)

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