June 18, 2015 / 5:36 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Spain's Caixabank to drop bid for Portugal's BPI

(Adds details, background)

MADRID, June 18 (Reuters) - Spain’s Caixabank said on Thursday it would withdraw its takeover offer for Banco BPI after it hit several snags, paving the way for its possible exit from the Portuguese lender.

Caixabank, which already has a 44.1 percent stake in BPI, said it was walking away after shareholders in the Portuguese bank pushed back on one of the key conditions of its bid.

Like Spanish peers, Caixabank had been looking to build on its presence overseas to offset a weak domestic market.

BPI on Wednesday failed in its bid to eliminate a 20 percent cap on voting rights, which was a condition for Caixabank’s bid launched in February. Eliminating the cap would have enabled Caixabank to vote with its full holding in BPI.

The Spanish bank’s offer of 1.329 euros a share had also previously been rejected as too low by BPI’s board, although Caixabank stuck to its guns.

The collapse of Caixabank’s offer now opens the door to its possible exit from BPI, and the bank said in a statement on Thursday it was analysing options for the holding.

At current prices, Caixabank’s stake in BPI would be worth around 800 million euros ($910 million).

Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos - BPI’s second-largest shareholder with a 18.6 percent stake - had opposed Caixabank’s bid, and instead wants BPI to merge with its larger domestic rival Millennium bcp.

Portugal’s CMVM market regulator earlier on Thursday suspended share trading in BPI, pending new information on its situation.

BPI shares were last up 1.86 percent at 1.259 euros in early trading on Thursday after slumping more than six percent on Wednesday.

Caixabank shares closed up 1.1 percent on Thursday ay 4.317 euros a share. ($1 = 0.8793 euros) (Reporting by Jesus Aguado, Elisabeth O’Leary and Sarah White; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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