‘Por ahora…’ – what BBVA can learn from Hugo Chávez
Euromoney Limited, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 15236090
4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX
Copyright © Euromoney Limited 2024
Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

‘Por ahora…’ – what BBVA can learn from Hugo Chávez

Some takeovers take time.

Hugo Chávez | Photo: Reuters

Given Spanish lender BBVA’s ownership of a bank in Venezuela, its leadership will be well aware of one of the favourite catchphrases used by that country’s late former president Hugo Chávez: “Por ahora…” [For now].

BBVA chair Carlos Torres Vila seems to be taking Chávez’s words to heart in his repeated attempts to take over Catalan lender Banco Sabadell.

Chávez first uttered the famous phase after leading a failed coup in 1992, only to take over the government in 1999 through democratic means. His propagandists later plastered “Por ahora…” on huge billboards over the Caracas skyline.

Torres might have said the same thing in 2020, when he walked away from an attempt to buy Sabadell after the latter’s board said its offer was too low.

BBVA has subsequently come back with another offer – at a 30% premium to Sabadell’s unaffected share price.

Again, Sabadell has said it is too low, and even published an email from Torres in which the latter said he would not improve the offer. That seemed to seal the attempted takeover’s failure on May 8. But again, only “for now”.

Indeed, the very next day, BBVA said it was taking the offer straight to Sabadell’s shareholders, despite opposition from the Spanish government.

Will Torres’ attempts to win the shareholder vote and wrestle power away from the establishment in Catalonia echo Chávez’ eventual Venezuelan victory? Euromoney is watching with bated breath. For now.

Gift this article