Intesa remedies in UBI bid may not satisfy regulator – report

FILE PHOTO: The Intesa Sanpaolo logo is seen in Milan, Italy, January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s antitrust authority may require Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) to make bigger concessions than planned to gain approval for its takeover of smaller rival UBI Banca (MI:UBI), an Italian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Citing a document by the competition authority, Il Messaggero said the watchdog had written to all parties involved after an initial investigation to say the planned tie-up would strengthen Intesa’s dominant position on several markets.

“The acquisition cannot be approved as proposed,” the paper quoted the document as saying.

Intesa and UBI declined to comment. The competition authority was not immediately available for comment.

Intesa has agreed in advance of the proposed takeover of UBI to sell 400-500 branches and 20 billion euros in assets of the combined group to BPER Banca (MI:EMII).

The antitrust body said in the document that such a proposal could not be taken into account because it was not clear which branches would be sold and where. It also flagged uncertainties over Intesa’s ability to deliver the planned sale.

In any case, the deal with BPER “does not solve issues in areas other than the north-western provinces where post-merger market shares are certainly significantly, namely the Marche, Calabria and Abruzzo regions,” Il Messaggero cited the document as saying.