France’s Credit Agricole offers $875 million to buy Italy’s Creval

PARIS/MILAN (Reuters) – France’s second-biggest listed bank Credit Agricole on Monday offered to buy Italian bank Credito Valtellinese (Creval) for 737 million euros ($875 million) as it pursues plans to boost its footprint in prosperous Northern Italy.

FILE PHOTO: A Credit Agricole sign is pictured on a building of the bank in Geneva November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The bank said the acquisition would double its market share in Italy’s wealthiest region of Lombardy from 3% to more than 6%.

Its Italian subsidiary Credit Agricole Italia was offering 10.50 euros ($12.47) per share to acquire Creval, Credit Agricole added. The offer amounts to an investment of 737 million euros ($875 million).

Under the planned takeover, its insurance unit Credit Agricole Assurance will sell its 9.8% stake in Creval to Credit Agricole Italia, the French lender said.

London-based investment firm Algebris has also committed to sell its 5.4% stake in Creval to Credit Agricole Italia.

“The offer will be subject to Credit Agricole Italia achieving at least a 66.7% of Credito Valtellinese’s voting share capital”, the lender said.

Credit Agricole has also held merger discussions with Banco BPM, Italy’s third-largest bank, but sources have said talks stalled.

Credit Agricole’s Italian retail banking expansion began in 2007 when it bought its key assets in the country, Cariparma, Friuladria, as well as some Banca Intesa branches.

The bank increased its exposure to Italy after Amundi bought Unicredit’s asset manager Pioneer in 2017.

(This story corrects typo in para 8)

Reporting by Matthieu Protard and Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris and Andrea Mandala in Milan; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Tom Hogue, Kirsten Donovan