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Bonds News

EXCLUSIVE-Russia's central bank looking for investor in Otkritie bank - sources

MOSCOW, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Russia’s central bank is looking for an investor in bailed-out Otkritie bank, but has drawn a blank with an approach to internet giant Yandex, two sources close to the matter told Reuters.

Otkritie, once Russia’s biggest private bank, was bailed out by the central bank in 2017 along with two other private banking groups. All three were struggling with mounting bad assets and a lack of capital.

The central bank plans to sell Otkritie, in full or in parts, either directly or via an initial public offering in 2021-2022 to recover some funds spent on the bailout.

Two state bankers told Reuters the central bank had started to look for potential investors for Otkritie and had approached Yandex asking it to consider buying the bank, but that the company had shown no interest.

Yandex, which was in talks to buy online bank Tinkoff in a $5.5 billion cash-and-share deal earlier this year, wants to develop a banking business on its own after the deal with Tinkoff fell apart, the sources said.

In a statement to Reuters, Yandex said it was not, and had not been, in talks to buy Otkritie from the central bank.

The central bank and Otkritie did not reply to Reuters requests for comment. (Reporting by Tatiana Voronova Additional reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya and Polina Nikolskaya Writing by Katya Golubkova Editing by Mark Potter)

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