Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Spain's second-largest bank, has offered to pay as much as 3.2 times book value for up to a 10% stake in Citic Bank, the South China Morning Post reported. Citic Bank, one of the few remaining countrywide commercial lenders without a foreign partner, is offering a stake of between 5% and 10%. China Life, the mainland's largest insurance company, was also pushing for a 10% stake, and International Finance Corp, the private sector arm of the World Bank, and the Singapore government's investment arm Temasek Holdings may also take up a small stake in the lender. The offer has also attracted other foreign investors, such as GE Capital, Grupo Santander and BNP Paribas. Citic Bank's management are considering selling more shares due to the strong interest, sources said. "The final mix all depends on whether Banco Bilbao pays the full 3.2 times book they said they were willing to," a source familiar with the situation said. The deal was expected to close at the end of next week.
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