QNB talks to buy Denizbank said to stall over price

Sources say Qatar National Bank's bid to acquire Turkish lender may collapse
QNB talks to buy Denizbank said to stall over price
Dexia has struggled in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis
By Bloomberg
Sat 18 Feb 2012 10:53 AM

Qatar National Bank’s talks to acquire Denizbank, the Turkish lender put up for sale by Dexia, are stalled over price and may collapse, people with knowledge of the process said.

Dexia, which is being broken up after the European debt crisis reduced its ability to obtain funding, has reached out to other potential buyers, one of the people said, declining to be identified because the discussions are private.

The Franco-Belgian lender is seeking about 1.5 times Denizbank’s book value of $2.1bn, while Doha-based QNB is prepared to pay between 1 and 1.2 times, the people said. While the two sides may still reach an agreement, Dexia could also decide to end the process and begin a new search for a buyer at a later date, they said.

Denizbank shares have surged more than 50 percent since early October, following reports Dexia would sell its majority stake in the bank under its rescue plan. Denizbank has a current market value of about 9.3bn liras ($5.3bn).

A spokesman for QNB could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for Dexia, based in both Paris and Brussels, declined to comment.

European banks are seeking to sell assets, portfolios and units to raise cash amid the region’s debt crisis and to meet tougher capital requirements. Lenders including Deutsche Bank and France’s Societe Generale have announced plans to shed more than $1trn in assets, according to Bloomberg data.

QNB, the Gulf country’s largest lender, was the last serious buyer for Denizbank after earlier bidders including HSBC Holdings and OAO Sberbank dropped out, people familiar with the situation said in January. A month earlier, Banco Comercial Portugues opted to keep its Polish unit.

Both Denizbank and BCP’s Warsaw-based unit were examples of profitable businesses in attractive markets that lost bidders, people familiar with the discussions said in December.

The European Banking Authority told the region’s banks to raise 114.7bn euros ($151bn) in fresh capital in December to respond to the sharp fall in the value of securities issued by euro-area governments. The agency also required banks to keep a core Tier-1 capital ratio of 9 percent and hold additional reserves, called a sovereign buffer, to protect against default on debt tied to weaker euro-area economies.

Dexia put Denizbank up for sale as part of a rescue plan undertaken by the French and Belgian governments. The firm is putting its most troubled assets into a so-called bad bank and trying to sell profitable units, including Denizbank, to raise cash.

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