S&P Global Market Intelligence presents In Play Today, a periodic summary of potential deal activity in the financial sectors of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This summary, which is displayed according to the location of a target's headquarters, is based on information obtained by S&P Global Market Intelligence and may not be inclusive of all potential deal activity.
* Italy's economy minister, Giovanni Tria, said the government plans to sell its 68% stake in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, Reuters reported, citing local media.
* Banco BPM SpA narrowed down the potential bidders for a €3.5 billion bad loan portfolio to consortia of doBank SpA, Fortress Investment Group LLC and acquisition vehicle Spaxs; Credito Fondiario SpA and Elliott Management Corp.; and Christofferson Robb & Co. LLC, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP and Prelios SpA. Banco BPM said it would discuss with the prospective bidders whether to sell more loans and potentially its platform for servicing bad debt.
* Public Stock Co. Orient Express Bank and PJSC Sovcombank are both interested in acquiring PJSC Asian-Pacific Bank, Kommersant reported. The Russian central bank expects Asian-Pacific Bank's sale price to not exceed the value of its capital, Vedomosti quoted the regulator's deputy head, Vasily Pozdyshev, as saying.
* Société Générale SA is in discussions to sell its South African unit to Absa Group Ltd., sources told Reuters. The unit reportedly has assets of about 9 billion South African rand.
* Private equity firm Cinven Ltd. made an "irrevocable offer" to buy Axa's closed Dublin-based AXA Life Europe DAC unit for €1.17 billion. If the deal goes through, Axa would receive €925 million in cash on closing, or 1.0x book value, plus a €240 million capital distribution from Axa Life Europe before completion.
* U.K. retailer Co-operative Group Ltd. is considering selling unit CIS General Insurance Ltd. for around £300 million, sources told Sky News.
Middle East and Africa
* Bank Dhofar SAOG and National Bank of Oman SAOG will start talks on a potential merger.