Credit Agricole wins majority support for takeover of Italy’s Creval | Reuters

The Italian arm of France’s Credit Agricole has secured majority support for its takeover of Italy’s Creval after winning over holdout investors by agreeing to pay the maximum offer price regardless of acceptance. FILE PHOTO: A branch of Credit Agricole bank is seen in Warsaw, Poland, July 3, 2018. REUTERS/Marcin Goclowski/File Photo

A low take-up had threatened to thwart Credit Agricole Italia’s plan to cement its presence in Italy’s consolidating banking sector, its biggest market outside of France.

As of Tuesday, which was due to be the offer’s second-to-last day, take-up stood at 22.6% of the shares targeted by the bid despite an improvement in the offer price announced last week.

To win over investors, Credit Agricole Italia last week said it would pay 12.2 euros ($14.66) a share, up from 10.5 euros initially. The price would rise further to 12.5 euros if acceptance topped 90% of Creval’s capital.

But late on Tuesday the French bank said it was dropping the 90% threshold condition and would just pay the highest price of 12.5 euros.

The move came after Creval’s board rejected the sweetened offer as still too low and criticised the double-price mechanism, which it said made it difficult for shareholders to understand how much they stood to receive.

Credit Agricole Italia said shareholders holding a further 27.2% of Creval had agreed to tender their shares or confirmed they would do so now that the condition had been dropped.

When including Tuesday’s take-up and another 2.45% Creval stake bought in block trades on the market, the Italian arm of France’s No.2 bank potentially controls the majority of Creval’s capital.

The buyout bid, which was due to end on Wednesday, has now been extended through Friday.

($1 = 0.8320 euros) Reporting by Andrea Mandala and Valentina Za; Editing by Jason Neely and Jan Harvey

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