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BANKING

Intesa’s UBI Banca takeover has Mediobanca’s fingerprints all over it

Intesa Sanpaolo’s €4.9 billion raid on UBI Banca could inspire similar deals, but it’s an eminently Italian takeover, not least due to the role of Alberto Nagel’s Mediobanca.

Italy fingerprint 780

Intesa Sanpaolo’s surprise bid for UBI Banca has stunned the financial community in Milan and beyond. At €4.9 billion, it’s Europe’s biggest bank takeover bid for a decade. It looks like a throwback to a different era in banking. 

Financial sector insiders say it could even mark a return to hostile bank takeovers – something not seen in Europe since some of the disastrous deals of the mid-2000s.

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Victor Massiah, UBI Banca

As the deal comes at about a 30% premium to UBI’s valuation prior to the announcement, chief executive Victor Massiah would be well-advised to accept the offer, a prominent bank investor tells Euromoney. 

Whether or not Massiah agrees, the bid was neither requested nor anticipated by UBI – nor almost anyone else. It happened without any of the lengthy horse-trading with the target’s regional powerbrokers that would usually precede a mid-tier bank takeover in Italy. 

The fact that Intesa’s shares rose after the announcement, albeit only by a couple of percentage points, will give ammunition to the growing advocates of more bank consolidation across Europe.