Banco Santander SA Chairman Ana Botin said she’s is always looking at potential smaller acquisitions, responding to a report that the Spanish lender had been approached about a possible bid for Metro Bank Holdings Plc.
(Bloomberg) — Banco Santander SA Chairman Ana Botin said she’s is always looking at potential smaller acquisitions, responding to a report that the Spanish lender had been approached about a possible bid for Metro Bank Holdings Plc.
“We’ve always said it’s our obligation and responsibility to look at everything, that is add-on acquisitions in all our markets,” Botin said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Marrakesh when asked about the UK firm. “If we do any acquisition it’s going to be very strict in terms of the financial and strategic targets.”
Metro Bank clinched a £925 million ($1.1 billion) financing package over the weekend that will impose a haircut on some bondholders and see Colombian financier Jaime Gilinski take a controlling interest. The deal for now has put an end to weeks of speculation over the company’s future.
Consulting firm Ernst & Young had been hired earlier to find a buyer for Metro Bank as the challenger bank races to strengthen its balance sheet, Bloomberg reported. Santander’s UK unit was among potential bidders who were approached by regulators, Sky News has said.
Botin declined to comment on Metro Bank specifically. She also declined to detail her plans for Santander’s investment bank, where the lender has hired bankers from Credit Suisse and other lenders, primarily in the US.
Santander’s corporate and investment banking unit contributes about a third of group profit. Its expansion into the US has been prompted by the acquisition of broker Amherst Pierpoint Securities, a primary dealer for the Federal Reserve.
With businesses from Spain to the UK, Brazil and the US, Banco Santander is one of the largest retail banks in the world. It has about 212,000 employees and a market capitalization of 55.7 billion euros ($59.5 billion). Botin has been executive chairman of the lender since her father died in 2014.
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