OCBC to extend talks on acquiring Wing Hang by up to a month-sources

Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:59am EST

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Jan 24 (Reuters) - Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, Singapore's second-biggest lender, is set to extend exclusive talks to acquire Hong Kong's Wing Hang Bank Ltd by as much as four weeks as it needs more time to secure regulatory approval, sources said on Friday.

A deal would represent OCBC's biggest acquisition to date, giving it a much sought after gateway to China and helping it bridge the gap with bigger rival DBS Group Holdings, which operates Hong Kong's fifth-biggest bank.

The two banks had given themselves one month to reach an agreement and that deadline was set to expire on Jan. 31.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter said that there had not been sufficient time to obtain regulatory approval due to the Lunar New Year holidays in Hong Kong.

An OCBC spokeswoman in Singapore declined to comment. Officials for Wing Hang were not immediately available to comment.

People familiar with the deal said this month that OCBC was offering nearly twice the Hong Kong lender's book value or around $5.3 billion, which has raised concerns about the likely need to tap shareholders for funds.

OCBC said this month it was in exclusive talks to buy Wing Hang in a deal that would first see it buy a 45 percent stake from the founding Fung family and BNY International Financing Corp before making a general offer for the remaining shares. (Reporting by Denny Thomas and Saeed Azhar. Additional reporting by Michael Flaherty.; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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