Sberbank on brink of acquiring Denizbank

Sberbank on brink of acquiring Denizbank

Sberbank on brink of acquiring Denizbank

Dexia is in talks with Russia’s Sberbank to sell its Turkey unit Denizbank. AA photo

Bailed out Franco-Belgian lender Dexia has begun exclusive talks with Russian lender Sberbank to sell its Turkish unit Denizbank and wants to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

Sberbank, Europe’s No. 2 lender by market value, is seeking a foothold in its long-eyed Turkish market and was competing for Denizbank with Qatar National Bank.

Sberbank now appears to be the only bidder and is in exclusive talks, Dexia said in a statement on May 24 adding that Sberbank had submitted a binding offer.

“The official bid is planned to be made by the end of May,” one banker said earlier.

Sources said previously that the Belgian government, a Dexia shareholder and responsible for most of its guarantees, had wanted 1.5 times Denizbank’s book value, which according to Reuters calculations is around $3.6 billion.

French Les Echos newspaper reported on May 24 that the price should be close to the 3 billion euros ($3.77 billion) expected by the Franco-Belgian bank. It said talks should take several weeks and be completed in the summer.

Crippled by the euzo zone debt crisis, Dexia was bailed out last October by France, Belgium and Luxembourg, and its assets are being sold. It is set to be left as a portfolio of bonds and loans in run-off.

If the deal proceeds, DenizBank will be the second step in Sberbank’s international foray, after it paid 505 million euros ($635.5 million) in February to buy VBI from Austrian lender Volksbanken AG, aiming to boost its presence in emerging Europe.

DenizBank, Turkey’s sixth largest private sector bank, has 588 branches across Turkey, a further branch in Bahrain, a Vienna-based subsidiary Denizbank and a Moscow-based unit for clients doing business in Russia.