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.
* The head of the German savings bank association foresees a merger between several regional landesbanken, a move that would create the country's second-largest bank, Bloomberg News reported. Media reports had suggested that Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, or NordLB, could merge with Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale, or Helaba, after which they would combine with Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale and Berlin Hyp AG.
* Italy-based UniCredit SpA has started looking for bidders for its Austrian credit card business, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The Italian banking group is said to be working with HSBC to sound out potential buyers for Vienna-based card complete Service Bank AG, which could include Denmark's Nets A/S.
* Germany's government is in high-level talks to find ways in which it could assist a potential merger between Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The current discussions, which have involved German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing, include potentially amending German laws to reduce the tax burden for the creation of such a structure and thus make the potential tie-up cheaper, the sources said.
* JSC Taskombank is interested in acquiring the Ukrainian unit of Russia's VTB Bank PJSC, which was declared insolvent in November, Ukrainian newspaper Ekonomichna Pravda reported. Russian state-controlled banks have been curbing their businesses in Ukraine due to strained relations between Kiev and Moscow.
* U.K.-based Legal & General Group PLC is considering selling its general insurance business in a deal that could be worth more than £300 million, insiders told Sky News. Potential buyers have already been informed about the potential sale.
* Germany's NordLB is set to enter concrete negotiations about the sale of a stake to Cerberus Capital Management LP, with two other private investors remaining in the bidding race, according to a Reuters report cited by Handelsblatt. Apollo Global Management LLC and Centerbridge Capital Partners LP are competing for second place in the bidding with NordLB's owners expected to complete their selection in the next few days, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
* Spain's Banco de Sabadell SA Chairman Josep Oliu said the Spanish lender plans to eventually sell U.K.-based TSB Banking Group PLC or merge it with another business after the unit becomes profitable again, Reuters reported, citing Expansion. However, a spokesman said Sabadell does not intend to sell TSB and instead aims to bolster the business by acquiring other assets, Reuters said.
* U.S.-based buyout firm Apollo Global Management LLC teamed up with Teacher Retirement System of Texas and U.K.-based investor Grovepoint Capital LLP to acquire four small banks, which are mainly in northern Germany, Bloomberg News reported. The news outlet noted that the venture is in the process of buying Wüstenrot & Württembergische AG unit Wüstenrot Bank AG Pfandbriefbank. The group of banks has total assets of approximately €20 billion, Bloomberg noted.
Middle East and Africa
* Ghana-based First Atlantic Bank Ltd. has agreed in principle to acquire fellow Ghanaian lender Energy Commercial Bank Ghana Ltd., Joy Business reported, citing sources. The agreement was reached in the week of Nov. 26, following approval from First Atlantic Bank's board. The potential transaction is subject to approval from the Bank of Ghana, according to a separate report by Joy Business.