It started with two press articles which have ignited the Milan Stock Exchange. According to "La repubblica" and "Il Sole 24 Ore" of yesterday, Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI, respectively the second and third Italian banks, discuss a decade a friendly reconciliation day. Clap of Thunder in Italian finance. Required by the stock market regulator to clarify this information, the two parties confirmed the new yesterday late morning. The "assumptions of fusion will be submitted at the weekend to their boards", were each in terse releases.
We know not yet what form would take this merger. Intesa and Sanpaolo refused to say more before their advice which, according to several sources, will meet Saturday. Some shareholders evoke an operation "between equals"; an offer of securities would be in this case launched by on the other, for about 30 billion. In any event, the union of the Bank of Milan and Turin give birth a new banking giant peninsula, far ahead of its national competitors. It would be number one in number of wickets (6.320) and employees (102.000) and number two in terms of assets (EUR 536 billion) behind UniCredit (787 billion euros). At the European level, the new set WAC in 7th place with a market capitalization of around 64 billion euros, behind BNP Paribas but before the SociÃ©tÃ© GÃ©nÃ©rale and CrÃ©dit Agricole.
The blessing of Prodi
The approximation of the two groups has already received the consent of the financial markets, Italian shareholders and the public authorities. The course of Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI jumped 7.6 and 6,06 yesterday closing at the Milan Stock Exchange respectively.
"If they have convened a Board of Directors, this must mean that they reached a consensus of all the shareholders," said Giuseppe Guzzetti, the President of the Cariplo Foundation, Intesa shareholder. Carlo Gabbi, of Cariparma Foundation, also shareholder of the Milanese Bank, added that there be no difficulties to form the new direction together. Intesa is currently led by the influential Corrado Passera, while Pietro Modiano took control of Sanpaolo IMI less than two years ago.
In the aftermath, the Italian Government gave his blessing to the marriage. "I hope that this operation will be carried out, because it is a beautiful project for the Italian banking system," said Romano Prodi, the President of the Council yesterday. "I cannot but express a positive judgment, even if it remains in the terms of the operation," agreed the Deputy Minister of economy Roberto Pinza.
Before publishing the banns, need however to know the intentions of the large foreign shareholders of both banks. Including that of Credit Agricole, which takes a position key with his 17.8 in Banca Intesa and its five representatives to the Board of Directors, on a total of 19. Green Bank is declared yesterday "ready to consider a draft reconciliation." Spanish Santander has been more discreet, him who said recently that want to increase the participation of 8.4 in Sanpaolo IMI. Generali, shareholder of the two banks, has also remained silent. The "Lion of Trieste" will certainly say, especially if it wishes to the sustainability of bancassurance agreements initiated by its subsidiaries with Intesa.