Brazil central bank to OK sale of minority stake in XP to Itaú: paper

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Itaú Unibanco S.A. is seen in a notepad during the Itau Unibanco's annual macroeconomic meeting with investors in Sao Paulo, Brazil April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank will approve the sale of a minority stake in financial services firm XP Investimentos SA to lender Itaú Unibanco Holding SA ITUB4.SA but will not sign off on a change of control, newspaper Estado de S.Paulo reported on Friday.

Itaú, Brazil’s largest bank, is proposing to buy a 49.9 percent stake in XP’s voting capital for 5.7 billion reais ($1.5 billion).

The transaction would grant Itaú a standing in the fast-growing market of financial services for retail clients, where new players threaten the dominant foothold of large banks.

Under the terms of the deal, Itaú could then take on a controlling stake in XP’s voting capital as soon as 2024, should XP shareholders exercise an option to relinquish control. If they decline to do so, Itaú will have the right to acquire the remaining stake in 2033.

Brazil’s antitrust regulator Cade had approved the minority stake sale in March, but two of its seven board members voted against the deal. A change in control of XP would require separate approval by Cade.

Major mergers and acquisitions in Brazil’s financial services sector require approval both by Cade and the central bank.

Representatives for Itaú, XP and the central bank did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Bruno Federowski in Brasilia and Carolina Mandl in São Paulo; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama