BBVA gets regulatory backing for $1.77 bln bid for Turkish lender Garanti

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A woman scans through her phone outside a BBVA bank building in Madrid, Spain, November 15, 2021. REUTERS/Juan Medina

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MADRID, March 31 (Reuters) - Spain's BBVA (BBVA.MC) said on Thursday it had secured the regulatory approval needed to launch a voluntary takeover bid for the 50.15% stake it does not already own in its Turkish unit Garanti as it increases its bet on more risky emerging markets.

Like its bigger Spanish rival Santander (SAN.MC), BBVA has been expanding in emerging economies where it see greater opportunities for growth as it struggles to boost income in more mature markets.

BBVA said on Thursday that the voluntary tender offer period would start on April 4 and end on April 29.

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On Nov. 15, BBVA offered to buy the remaining stake in Garanti and established a maximum price of 25.697 billion Turkish lira ($2.03 billion), or 12.20 lira per share, should all Garanti shareholders sell their shares.

The deal then represented a premium of 15%, but since then, a weaker Turkish lira has reduced the price of its deal in euros. The offer would now be worth 1.6 billion euros, down from initially 2.25 billion euros, a BBVA spokesperson said on Thursday.

The proposal means BBVA could potentially buy 51% of Garanti for less than a quarter of the 7 billion euros it spent buying up the 49.85% stake it currently holds.

Though analysts mostly agree that the deal makes sense from a purely financial point of view, many have highlighted macroeconomic risks from betting on emerging markets.

Mexico and Turkey are among the key regions BBVA is betting on to help meet higher profitability and cost targets under a 2022-2024 strategic plan outlined in mid-November. read more

But inflation in Turkey has soared to 54% in February, largely because of a currency crisis last year and a surge in global commodity prices driven by the Ukraine war.

The full acceptance of the bid would have a capital consumption of around 32 basis points, down from a initially estimated impact of 46 basis points, the spokesperson said.

BBVA finished 2021 with a core tier-1 fully loaded capital ratio, the strictest measure of solvency, of 12.75%.

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Reporting by Jesús Aguado, editing by Andrei Khalip and David Evans

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