June 15, 2020 / 6:43 AM / 2 months ago

Intesa, BPER revise terms aiming to avert antitrust hurdles to UBI deal

MILAN, June 15 (Reuters) - Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo has increased the number of branches and amount of assets it will sell to rival BPER if its proposed takeover of UBI Banca goes through in an effort to overcome antitrust objections to the deal.

In two separate statements on Monday, Intesa and BPER said they had agreed that BPER would buy 532 branches from the combined Intesa-UBI group if the bid succeeds, up from 400-500 under a previous accord.

BPER would in this way acquire an additional 4.5 billion euros ($5.06 billion) in assets from Intesa-UBI, adding a total of 26 billion euros in net client loans through the deal and lowering its impaired loan ratio to 8.4% of total lending.

The price mechanism for the sale, which was revised following the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy to take into account a plunge in the value of financial stocks, has been slightly modified, the two banks said.

BPER said it would pay the lowest amount between a sum equivalent to 0.55 times the core capital of the business it was buying and a value corresponding to 0.78 times the implied multiple paid by Intesa for UBI’s core capital.

Previously the latter had been set at 0.80 times, which means that the discount potentially granted to BPER has increased slightly.

Following the preliminary findings from the Italian antitrust authority’s review of the deal, Intesa has been racing to submit stepped-up remedies by a deadline set at 0800 GMT on Monday.

The competition regulator, which has taken aim with the BPER deal saying it was surrounded by too much uncertainty, had said the UBI takeover could not be cleared because it would create or strengthen a dominant position for Intesa in several areas.

Intesa in February announced a surprise all-paper offer to take over UBI and create the euro zone’s seventh-largest banking group, with a focus on insurance and wealth management.

BPER was assisted by Rothschild & Co, BofA Securities and Citigroup as financial advisers and by Chiomenti Studio Legale as legal adviser.

$1 = 0.8902 euros Reporting by Valentina Za and Andrea Mandala; editing by Jason Neely

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