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RZB May Attract Interest of Investor AB, Norges, Wiener Reports

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Investor AB, the Wallenberg family’s publicly traded holding company, may be interested in acquiring a minority stake in Austria’s Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG, Wiener Zeitung reported, citing market speculation.

Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund, Norges Bank Investment Management, may also be interested in the Austrian lender, which owns a majority stake in Raiffeisen Bank International AG, the Vienna-based paper said.

RZB’s plan to sell new shares and Oesterreichische Volksbanken AG’s desire to sell its 5 percent stake in RZB could provide Investor AB and Norges with an opportunity, according to the report.

The Austrian lender, which had a capital gap of 2.1 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in the most recent round of European Union stress tests, in turn is seeking a partner for Uniqa Versicherungen AG, the paper said.

RZB also is mulling selling its 25 percent stake in credit card company Card Complete, Wiener said. The bank also owns a stake in debit and credit card company PayLife, the paper said. RZB’s rival Erste Group Bank AG also holds a PayLife stake and wants to sell it, according to the report.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Zoe Schneeweiss at zschneeweiss@bloomberg.net

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