CaixaBank Fails to Reach Agreement With Isabel dos Santos on BPI

  • Unable to reach accord on terms for acquiring stake in BPI
  • Bank hopes to continue to support BPI to find a solution

CaixaBank SA said it failed to reach an accord with Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos on acquiring her stake in Portuguese lender Banco BPI SA after it was unable to reach an agreement on terms for the transaction.

“It wasn’t possible to meet the conditions to reach an agreement with Santoro Finance,” Spain’s third-largest bank said in a statement Thursday. The bank “hopes to continue to collaborate and support BPI to find a solution” to the excessive risks stemming from its stake in its Banco de Fomento Angola unit.

CaixaBank had been negotiating with dos Santos to buy her stake in BPI, according to people familiar with the talks, in a second attempt after last year scrapping a 1.1 billion-euro ($1.2 billion) offer to buy the 56 percent in the Portuguese bank it doesn’t already own. Dos Santos’ holding company, Santoro Finance, has an 18.6 percent stake in BPI. She controls another 2.3 percent holding through Angolan bank Banco BIC SA. Dos Santos is BIC’s biggest shareholder with a 43 percent stake.

Proposed Merger

The daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, BPI’s second-biggest shareholder, opposed CaixaBank’s offer last year, proposing instead a BPI merger with bigger Portuguese rival Banco Comercial Portugues SA. She was able to block CaixaBank’s offer because of a rule restricting a single investor’s voting rights to 20 percent.

Talks started after dos Santos, at a shareholder meeting earlier this year, rejected a plan by BPI to spin off its African operations, which include Angolan lender Banco de Fomento Angola. The move aimed to comply with a request by the European Central Bank for BPI to reduce its exposure to the African nation by April 10.

Dos Santos earlier this year offered 140 million euros to buy an additional 10 percent stake in Banco de Fomento Angola through Unitel, a mobile-phone service company where she holds a 25 percent stake. BPI said on Jan. 27 it rejected Unitel’s offer. BPI owns 50.1 percent of BFA, with the rest held by Unitel.

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