U.S. asset managers BlackRock Inc. and Värde Partners Inc. intend to submit separate offers for embattled Italian lender Banca Carige SpA by mid-April, three sources close to the matter told Reuters.
BlackRock is primarily interested in Banca Carige's nonperforming loans and private banking unit Banca Cesare Ponti SpA, according to the sources. Meanwhile, Apollo Global Management LLC, which was also reportedly interested in acquiring the bank, has dropped out of the race, one of the sources noted.
Banca Carige, which was placed under special administration by the ECB in January, is looking to raise €630 million in 2019 to execute a "fundamental turnaround" after Italy's Malacalza family, which owns a 27.5% stake in the bank, rejected its proposed cash call in December 2018.
BlackRock and Värde would need to get the family on board to secure a deal, while another obstacle could be the price at which either bidder would be willing to pay for the lender's bad loans, according to the report.