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Merger targets reassess their value

Sahenk: realized through
negotiations with
UniCredito that Garanti's
value "was more

Ever the bashful bride, Turkey's Garanti Bank has turned away from a second marriage offer from Italy's Banca Intesa over apparent differences on long-term risks, values and the treatment of employees in the post-merger environment. The merger, which unravelled in July after scarcely a three-month engagement, would have joined Italy's largest bank, with assets of almost $330 billion, and Turkey's number three financial institution, with assets of about $16 billion and shareholder equity of $1.75 billion.

The much publicized acquisition by a leading European bank of Turkey's third-largest privately owned bank was heralded as a sign that Turkey's isolated banking sector was on the verge of a spate of international mergers and acquisition.

That may yet occur, but Garanti will not be leading the way.

"We've taken the 'for sale' sign off of Garanti," Ferit Sahenk, chairman of Garanti's parent company, Dogus Group, told a press conference.

The July annulment was the pair's second failed attempt at a merger. The first tie-up was cancelled in 2001 amid the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the US.

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