* 84.35 pct of Eurobank's stock accepts NBG takeover offer
* Merger to form Greece's largest banking group
* New shares seen listed on Feb. 27
By George Georgiopoulos
ATHENS, Feb 18 A large majority of shareholders
at Greek lender Eurobank have accepted an all-share
buyout offer from larger rival National Bank (NBG),
clearing the way for a merger to form the country's biggest
National offered to buy Eurobank in October,
kicking off a wave of consolidation in Greece's banking industry
to cope with fallout from the country's debt crisis and deep
NBG said in a stock market filing on Monday that 84.35
percent of Eurobank's stockholders accepted its voluntary tender
offer, which expired on Friday.
National, advised by Credit Suisse, had offered 58 new
shares for every 100 shares of Eurobank. The merger will form
Greece's biggest banking group in terms of loans, deposits and
The combined entity will have total assets of 174 billion
euros, loans of 113 billion and deposits of 85 billion based on
their financial statements at end-September 2012 along with a
significant presence in Turkey, Romania and Serbia.
The merger is expected to produce cost savings of up to 630
million euros per year after the end of 2015. NBG executives
have said that up to 25 percent of the combined network's
branches could be restructured following the deal.
NBG also plans to cut up to 2,000 jobs, or about 15 percent
of its workforce, to generate savings from its takeover of
"The key issue going forward will be implementation, uniting
two big banks with different cultures and overlapping branch
networks into one bigger entity," said analyst Maria
Kanellopoulou at Euroxx Securities.
Soon after NBG's offer was launched, Eurobank's major
shareholders representing 44 percent of its stock said they
would back the deal.
Eurobank, advised by Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Goldman
Sachs International, said last month that NBG's offer was fair
from a financial point of view.
In similar moves, peers Alpha and Piraeus
have also taken over smaller rivals to form bigger
operations in the hope of regaining access to wholesale funding
markets after they are recapitalised.
Alpha Bank bought Emporiki Bank from France's Credit
Agricole, with Piraeus gobbling up the healthy part of
state lender ATEbank and Societe Generale's Greek
subsidiary Geniki Bank.
French lenders SocGen and Credit Agricole, which had
acquired Greek banks as part of an expansion drive, decided to
exit after the country's debt crisis erupted, leading to a deep
Piraeus is currently in talks to acquire Portuguese lender
Millennium BCP's Greek unit.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by David Cowell)