Monte dei Paschi makes $13 bln play for Antonveneta

 @ibtimes
on November 08 2007 11:09 AM

Italian bank Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena on Thursday said it has agreed to buy Banca Antonveneta from Spanish bank Banco Santander for 9 billion euros ($13.2 billion) to boost its presence in Italy.

Monte Paschi, left dangling as a consolidation wave swept through Italy's banking industry, has been searching for options to grow and appointed a merger adviser in March.

Santander, Spain's largest bank, was acquiring Antonveneta as part of a three-way break-up bid for Dutch group ABN Amro. The Dutch bank acquired Antonveneta, based in Italy's wealthy northeast region, in 2006 for 7.5 billion euros.

Santander shares jumped 3.7 percent after the deal was announced. Monte Paschi shares had been halted pending a statement.

Santander planned to make a statement imminently, a spokesman said.

(Reporting by Deepa Babington; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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