Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC; 601398.SH, 1398.HK) will purchase an 80% stake in the American operations of Bank of East Asia (0023.HK), Bloomberg reported. The acquisition, which will cost the world’s largest bank by market capitalization an estimated US$140 million, is currently under regulatory review. In a statement, ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing said that the buy will allow ICBC to expand its retail banking operations across the US. Bank of East Asia has 13 branches in the US, split between California and New York. ICBC purchased a 70% stake in Bank of East Asia’s Canadian operations last year, and last week opened five new branches across Europe. The new purchase marks the first time a Chinese bank has acquired a majority stake in an American depository institution.
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