MADRID Santander's takeover of struggling Banco Popular POP.MC gives further stability to Spain's banking sector, Chairman Ana Botin told a news conference, adding that Santander had not come under any pressure to purchase its rival.
"This deal is good for Spain and it's good for Europe," Botin said. She added that the takeover, announced on Wednesday, would not involve any public guarantees from the Spanish state or the European Union.
Asked whether Santander had been leaned on by authorities to absorb Popular, Botin said: "I want to make it very clear that we didn't come under any pressure from anyone."
Santander aims to sell off at least half of Popular's real estate assets within about 18 months after taking over the bank, Botin said.
(Reporting by Angus Berwick, Writing by Sarah White, Editing by Sonya Dowsett)