When a private bank due to be sold to a foreign group
ends up in state hands it's hardly a sign that all's well with the
European single market. This was the outcome of the stand-off
between the European Commission and the Portuguese government over
the Champalimaud banking group. Spain's BSCH attempted to take a
stake in the group, sparked off a huge row about cross-border
M&A and ended up with only some of the pickings. Other key
assets have ended up under state control, even if only temporarily.
From every angle the Champalimaud affair is an example of the wrong
way to make takeovers. For octogenarian banker António Champalimaud
it was a final chapter in a lifetime of battles with bureaucrats.
Brian Caplen reports