UPDATE 1-Czech firm PPF to boost MONETA Money Bank stake to 28.36% with offer | Reuters

Czech billionaire Petr Kellner’s PPF Group said on Thursday it would boost its stake in MONETA Money Bank to 28.36% following a voluntary offer, part of a two-step attempt to gain control of the lender.

PPF’s Tanemo subsidiary will acquire a 27.73% stake via the tender, short of the maximum offer of up to 29% of shares.

PPF is also in talks to fold some of its smaller lenders into MONETA in exchange for shares, which would give it a majority stake in the country’s sixth-largest bank.

Shares in MONETA closed on Wednesday at 79.20 crowns - just below the 80 crown offer price - putting the bank’s market capitalisation at 40.5 billion crowns ($1.84 billion).

PPF, due to become MONETA’s largest shareholder, said it would pay 11.3 billion crowns for the shares. Up to 10% of shares will be settled on March 24 and the rest are subject to regulator approval.

PPF, which is 98.93% owned by Kellner, the richest Czech businessman whose net worth is estimated by Forbes at $17.5 billion, is making a second attempt at MONETA after a deal fizzled in 2019.

In its current bid, PPF is proposing MONETA acquire its smaller lender Air Bank, the Czech and Slovak units of its global consumer lender Home Credit and its Benxy unit.

The combined groups would have around 2.5 million retail customers in the Czech Republic, a country of 10.7 million people.

With the tie-up, PPF has said MONETA could become one of the top three banks with a focus on the retail and small-business segments in a market predominantly controlled by foreign owners like Belgium’s KBC, Austria’s Erste Group Bank and France’s Societe Generale . $1 = 21.9610 Czech crowns Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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