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Saudi's National Commercial Bank in merger talks with Riyad Bank

Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank is in initial merger discussions with Riyad Bank, though the former said the discussions may not necessarily lead to a definitive agreement.

The biggest lender of Saudi Arabia, National Commercial Bank, said central bank Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority is aware of the move, and a transaction is unlikely to result in staff layoffs.

In case of a deal, which shall be subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, the combined bank would hold $182 billion in assets, becoming the third-largest bank in the Gulf, Bloomberg News reported.

Saudi wealth fund Public Investment Fund, which owns 22% of Riyad Bank and nearly 44% of National Commercial Bank, is reportedly exploring which banks could be merged to boost the financial services industry.

Riyad Bank's share price jumped 8.19% on Dec. 25 at market close, and National Commercial Bank's rose 1.49%.