Unicredito to buy ONBanca Internet venture

Unicredito to buy ONBanca Internet venture

Italian bank Unicredito is to buy out Banca Popolare Commercio e Industria's (BPCI) majority share in the online bank ONBanca, in a deal valuing the entire share capital of ONBanca at EUR83 million.

BPCI currently owns a 54 per cent stake in ONBanca. As part of the deal, BPCI will exercise a call option to buy German Web broker Consors' 16.8 per cent stake and then sell on the shares to Unicredito. Italian group Lombardini will exercise a put option with BPCI for its 3.2 per cent shareholding in ONBanca, which will also be sold on to Unicredito.

The remaining share capital of ONBanca is divided between French insurer AXA (four per cent) and the market (22 per cent).

The offer by Unicredito is expected at a price of EUR32 per ONBanca share, corresponding to a premium of 26 per cent to the closing price on Friday, 12 July 2002.

Unicredito says it is considering merging ONBanca with its own online banking unit Xelion, which currently has funds under management of approximately EUR2.8 billion and serves around 95,000 clients. ONBanca currently serves approximately 45,000 clients.

The acquisition of ONBanca is part of a broader negotiation that has led to an agreement for the creation of an insurance joint venture between BPCI and Commercial Union Vita - jointly owned by UK insurance group Aviva and the UCI Group. As a result, the completion of the sale will be subject to clearance of the relevant antitrust authorities and the authorisations of the Bank of Italy and ISVAP in relation to the insurance agreement.

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