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BPER Banca snaps up Italian peer Carige for symbolic €1

BPER Banca SpA sealed a deal to take over Banca Carige S.p.A. - Cassa di Risparmio di Genova e Imperia following an exclusivity period with Italian depositor protection fund FITD.

The fund will sell its roughly 80% stake in Carige to BPER Banca for a symbolic €1 and inject €530 million of capital into the ailing bank at deal closing, which is expected by June-end, pending regulatory and statutory approvals. A mandatory public purchase offer at 80 cents per Carige share will be carried out for the remaining stake, BPER Banca said Feb. 14.

Combining BPER Banca and Carige would create Italy's fourth-largest bank by assets, with total assets of more than €150 billion, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

The deal marks the culmination of exclusive negotiations between the FITD and BPER Banca. BPER Banca had to beat a rival offer from the Italian arm of France-based Crédit Agricole SA to secure the deal.

With the deal, BPER Banca said it will now be able to "grow in regions that currently have a limited footprint."

The FITD stepped in to bail out Carige in late 2019 after a weak capital position and widening losses led to the bank being placed under temporary administration by the ECB in January of the same year. Carige shareholders had approved a €900 million rescue plan for the bank, including a €700 million capital increase, which the FITD mostly funded.