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Italy's BFF to merge with DEPObank after deal with private equity

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's Banca Farmafactoring (BFF) BFF.MI plans to merge with depositary bank DEPObank, which it said it has agreed to buy from a group of private equity firms, lifting the specialised lender's shares on Wednesday.

Shares in BFF, which specialises in financing services for suppliers of Italy’s healthcare system, were up 6.5% at 0835 GMT after it announced what Jefferies analysts said would be a “transformative” deal in terms of scale and diversity of income.

Italy’s public administration is notoriously slow in paying suppliers and BFF provides financing through its factoring businesses by buying their receivables.

BFF said it would merge with DEPObank after buying a 76% stake in cash for a price equal to the portion of DEPObank’s best-quality CET1 capital ratio which exceeds a 15% threshold, for up to 198 million euros ($215 million).

Equinova, an investment vehicle owned of private equity firms Advent International, Bain Capital and Clessidra, will have a stake of 7.6% in the new company.

DEPObank was born from a spin-off from Italian payments group NEXI NEXII.MI and it is focused on depository and settlement bank businesses.

Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; Editing by Alexander Smith

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