Intesa Sanpaolo SpA is in talks to buy Romania’s First Bank from its private equity owner, JC Flowers & Co., people with knowledge of the matter said.
(Bloomberg) — Intesa Sanpaolo SpA is in talks to buy Romania’s First Bank from its private equity owner, JC Flowers & Co., people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Italian lender is discussing terms of a transaction that could value First Bank at about €200 million ($216 million), according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.
Deliberations are ongoing and there’s no certainty they’ll result in a deal, they said. Spokespeople for Intesa, JC Flowers and First Bank declined to comment.
Intesa, Italy’s biggest bank, is scouting for bolt-on acquisitions in European countries where it already has a presence. Marco Elio Rottigni, chief of Intesa’s International Subsidiary Banks Division, said earlier in August that it was ready to pursue any external growth opportunities that arise. The bank operates a unit in Romania housing about €1.5 billion in assets and serving more than 60,000 clients.
Bucharest-based First Bank provides a range of products and financial services to retail, small and medium-sized companies and larger corporate clients. JC Flowers bought First Bank from Piraeus Bank in 2018. A year later, it took over smaller rival Leumi, which was incorporated into the First Bank brand.
Bloomberg News reported in January that JC Flowers has been working to gauge interest in the asset, with Italy’s UniCredit SpA among those that held preliminary talks about a deal before walking away. In July, UniCredit separately decided against pursuing the Bucharest-based unit of OTP Bank Nyrt.
–With assistance from Andra Timu.
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