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Banking: Sberbank ups the ante with Troika Dialog buy

Bolt-on acquisition of investment banking unit; Integration problems the big challenge

After months of speculation Russia’s biggest lender, Sberbank, has announced the acquisition of investment bank Troika Dialog. The move will create a second government-owned champion in investment banking in Russia, to rival VTB Capital, the merchant bank owned by the country’s second-biggest bank, VTB.

Under the terms of the agreement, which should be closed by the fourth quarter of this year, Sberbank will pay an initial $1 billion to acquire the 36.4% of Troika Dialog owned by South Africa’s Standard Bank and the 63.6% belonging to a group of shareholders headed by chairman and chief executive Ruben Vardanyan. A further payment, based on a profit-linked formula, will be made in 2013, taking the total final cost of the purchase up to a possible $1.85 billion. Sberbank has guaranteed that the additional payment will not fall below $200 million, even if market conditions are unfavourable.

Commenting on its decision to sell its stake in Troika Dialog, Standard Bank chief executive Jacko Maree said the bank would look to retain its existing links with Troika Dialog and leverage its new relationship with Sberbank. "While we are reluctant sellers of our stake in Troika, this transaction is an opportunity for us to connect and serve our clients by leveraging our strong relationships into the combined Sberbank-Troika Dialog in Russia," he said.

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