France's Credit Agricole takes 9.2% stake in Italy's Banco BPM
MILAN (Reuters) -Credit Agricole has bought a 9.2% stake in Italy’s third-largest lender Banco BPM, the French bank said late on Thursday, increasing exposure to its biggest foreign market. Banco BPM has long been searching for a merger partner in Italy’s consolidating banking sector and it held talks with Credit Agricole back in 2020 which led nowhere. A strong presence in Italy’s wealthy Lombardy region had made Banco BPM an attractive target for bigger rival UniCredit, which had readied a takeover offer before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sources had told Reuters. The French lender said the investment, carried out by buying shares on the market and through a transaction with a leading international bank, would have negligible impact on its core capital ratio. Tied to Banco BPM by a long-standing consumer finance joint venture, Credit Agricole said the deal strengthened what it called the two banks’ “solid relationship”, adding it aimed to expand the scope of their strategic partnerships.
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