Corporate Financier’s Notes by Aivars Jurcans
Done! And Done
Sompo Holdings, a Japanese insurer, has agreed to buy Diversified Crop Insurance Services, a US crop insurance unit of CGB Enterprises, a US grain shipper, for an estimated USD 380 million to USD 470 million. The acquisition will make Sompo one of the largest crop insurance providers in the world with combined gross written premiums of over USD 2 billion.
Berkshire Hathaway has sold more than 100 million shares in Wells Fargo worth almost USD 2.5 billion since the end of June 2020, reducing its stake down from 8.4% at the end of 2019 to 3.3%.
Deals On The Table
The Italian government is said to have set out options for disposing of its majority stake in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (including a public tender or a merger with peers) by the end of 2021. Founded in 1472, Monte Paschi is 68% owned by the Italian state after a recapitalisation in 2017.
First Abu Dhabi Bank is said to be planning to restart talks to buy the Egyptian business of Bank Audi, a Lebanese lender. The talks were put on hold in May 2020 due to “difficult market conditions” triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time the potential deal was said to be worth around USD 700 million.
CaixaBank and Bankia are said to be discussing a EUR 17 billion merger deal. The new combined “CaixaBankia” would become Spain’s largest domestic bank with assets of more than EUR 650 billion.
BR Partners, a Brazilian investment bank, is said to be planning to raise up to USD 164.16 million in an IPO.
Thanks, But No Deal
Ageas, a Belgian insurer, is said to have rebuffed takeover interest from BE Group. Ageas has a market value of about EUR 7 billion.
Vipps, a Norwegian fintech, is said to have struck a deal with Visa to give banks and card issuers access to a mobile wallet that is easy to use. DNB, a Norwegian lender, is the largest Vipps shareholder.
Global assets held by exchange traded funds (ETFs) have reached USD 7 trillion for the first time; investors have ploughed USD 428 billion in new cash into exchange-traded products so far in 2020.
A Thought Worth Noting
“Banks are unlikely to be faced with a bigger real-life experiment in the enforced use of digitalisation than Covid-19. … As bank managements sit down in the autumn to review their multiyear planning, we believe they should be taking a much harder look at their cost bases. We believe it is finally ‘show me’ time on the digital cost cutting story.”
Stuart Graham, co-founder, Autonomous
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