UniCredit vice-chairman denies he discussed Intesa merger

MILAN Sat Nov 3, 2012 4:37pm GMT

Fabrizio Palenzona, vice chairman of Italy's largest bank Unicredito, leaves a meeting of the country's banking elite in Rome. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Fabrizio Palenzona, vice chairman of Italy's largest bank Unicredito, leaves a meeting of the country's banking elite in Rome.

Credit: Reuters/Chris Helgren

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MILAN (Reuters) - A spokesman for Italian bank Unicredit's CRCI.MI Vice Chairman Fabrizio Palenzona denied on Saturday that he had held talks on merging the bank with Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI).

Rome daily La Repubblica reported earlier on Saturday that Palenzona was discussing the idea of merging the country's two biggest lenders informally with shareholders at Intesa Sanpaolo. The same article also said UniCredit itself had already denied the information was true.

"The report that Palenzona had an idea about a possible merger between UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo is baseless," Palenzona's spokesperson said on Saturday. "Palenzona believes such a transaction...would be completely un-doable, and without any sort of actual, business or financial logic."

The article noted that UniCredit was vulnerable to a foreign takeover bid, since its market capitalization has tumbled to about 20 billion euros. Its shares have fallen 32 percent from a year ago.

(Reporting by Stefano Bernabei and Jennifer Clark; editing by Patrick Graham)

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