PARIS/MILAN (Reuters) – France’s Credit Agricole offered to buy third-tier Italian lender Creval for 737 million euros ($875 million) on Monday, as a wave of consolidation sweeps Italy’s banking sector.
France’s No.2 bank had been considering expanding in Italy, its second biggest market, and both Creval and larger rival Banco BPM had been tipped as possible targets.
Credit Agricole Italia will pay 10.5 euros per Creval share, a 21.4% premium on Friday’s closing price. Shares in Creval jumped 23.7% slightly surpassing the offer’s price. Credit Agricole closed up 3.9%. Banco BPM declined 3.7%.
The buyout offer is expected to be launched by April and is subject to a two-thirds minimum acceptance threshold by Creval shareholders.
Intesa Sanpaolo’s surprise takeover of UBI earlier this year prompted rivals in Italy to