France’s Credit Agricole has informed Italy’s Treasury that it has no plans to buy a controlling stake in Banco BPM, Reuters reported citing sources.
Last week, Crédit Agricole acquired a 9.18% stake in Banco BPM, which fuelled speculations that a full takeover bid could come next.
The Italian government did not object to the French lender’s stake building in the country’s top three bank but any effort to take full control of it would be a cause of serious concern, one of the sources said.
“The French have confirmed that they do not want control of Banco BPM,” the source added.
Notably, for Credit Agricole, Italy is the biggest foreign market, where it acquired Creval in 2021 through its local arm.
Recently, it had shown interest in acquiring embattled Italian bank Banca Carige, but BPER Banca managed to bag that deal after some FITD members raised concerns regarding Credit Agricole’s expansion in the country.
The government can also block takeover bids in systematically important industries such as banking, telecom, and energy under the golden power rules.
While announcing the deal last week, Credit Agricole noted that it did not apply for authority’s approval to cross the 10% threshold in Banco BPM.
Earlier this year, Banco BPM’s larger rival UniCredit had expressed interest in acquiring the bank but was forced to abandon that plan after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Banco BPM, which was formed in 2017, recently announced plans to buy the remaining stake in its insurance joint venture with France’s Covea.