M&A deal of the year: UniCredit €15.4 billion stock-funded acquisition of HVB
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M&A deal of the year: UniCredit €15.4 billion stock-funded acquisition of HVB

The Italian bank refined the blueprint for cross-border bank mergers in Europe.

At a glance:
Deal type:
Acquisition of HVB by UniCredit – €15.4 billion stock-funded deal (excluding offers for HVB subsidiaries Bank Austria and Bank BPH)
Advisers: (For seller) Citigroup, JPMorgan; (for acquirer) Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs
Date: Announced June 2005, closed November 2005

There were many bold and audacious cross-border M&A propositions in 2005, some of which didn’t quite come off. Chinese oil company CNOOC’s $18.5 billion bid for Unocal of the US is a prime example. Had that deal not been scuppered, partly by US political and national security concerns, it would have been by far the largest foreign acquisition to date by a Chinese company.

However, UniCredit’s acquisition of HVB, the largest-ever cross-border bank acquisition in Europe, announced last June, was also a transformational deal. It created the first genuinely pan-European bank, with total assets of $953 billion, 28 million customers and operations in 19 countries. The combined group will have leading positions in three of Europe’s wealthiest countries (Austria, Germany and Italy) plus the undisputed number one position in the continent’s fastest-growing region, central and eastern Europe.

“This was really the first cross-border European banking deal, which in practice will be more of a merger than anything else,” says Claudio Costamagna, chairman, European investment banking, at Goldman Sachs.

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