Itáu, Chile's CorpBanca near to creating bank venture -sources

SAO PAULO/SANTIAGO Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:18pm EST

SAO PAULO/SANTIAGO Jan 28 (Reuters) - Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, the largest Latin American bank by market value, and Chilean lender CorpBanca SA could announce a banking partnership as early as Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

São Paulo-based Itaú and Corpbanca, controlled by billionaire Alvaro Saieh, will create a new company in which they will merge their assets in Chile and Colombia, said two of the sources, who declined to be identified because the deal has not been finalized. A third source said Ricardo Marino, Itaú's head of Latin American business, is in Santiago to ratify the deal.

Under the terms of the deal, Itaú Unibanco would control 50.5 percent of the new company, according to one source. None of the sources gave details such as the value of the transaction.

Itaú and Santiago-based CorpBanca, Chile's fifth-largest bank and which also operates in Colombia, recently confirmed they were in acquisitions talks. Both banks declined to comment.

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