May 12, 2020 / 2:38 PM / 23 days ago

Italy anti-trust watchdog digs deeper into Intesa's UBI bid -sources

MILAN, May 12 (Reuters) - Italy’s anti-trust watchdog has sent police officials to obtain extra documents from Intesa Sanpaolo and its adviser Mediobanca as it scrutinises Intesa’s proposed takeover of UBI Banca, four sources familiar with the matter said.

As well as Intesa and Mediobanca’s offices, police officials were also dispatched by the watchdog to UBI’s offices to obtain additional paperwork to that which has already been submitted by Intesa, the sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Intesa is seeking regulatory clearance for an exchange offer for UBI shares as it attempts to create the euro zone’s seventh-largest banking group, with a focus on asset management and insurance.

Italy’s antitrust watchdog, which is looking into possible market concentration issues as a result of the planned takeover, relies on a special body of the country’s financial police to acquire documents under such circumstances.

Intesa has agreed to sell 400-500 branches and some 20 billion euros ($22 billion) in assets of the new entity to BPER Banca to address possible anti-trust issues, in what would be the biggest banking merger in Europe in a decade.

It has said it expects to be able to launch the offer towards the end of June once it has obtained the necessary regulatory green lights. ($1 = 0.9200 euros) (Reporting by Valentina Za, Andrea Mandala, Gianluca Semeraro and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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