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Report: Emirates NBD nears deal to acquire Sberbank's Turkish unit

United Arab Emirates-based Emirates NBD Bank PJSC could clinch a deal to acquire PAO Sberbank of Russia's Turkish unit DenizBank AS within weeks, Reuters reported March 22, citing unnamed sources.

The Dubai-based bank was understood to be working on a bid to acquire DenizBank, but the potential $5.3 billion deal has reportedly met resistance from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The potential sale comes amid strained relations between Gulf states and Turkey, which sided with Qatar in its ongoing diplomatic rift with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain.

DenizBank CEO Hakan Ates has met with Erdogan and other senior government officials over the past month to persuade them that the deal will be positive for the country's banking system, one of the sources told Reuters.

It is unclear whether Ates' efforts have worked, but there was an acknowledgement among officials that Turkey's issues were with Abu Dhabi — or the UAE's policymakers — and not with Dubai, the region's financial hub, one source reportedly said. The UAE cities are run by two close but separate families, Reuters noted.

However, Erdogan could still block the deal by ordering Turkish banking regulator BDDK not to approve it.