BPI Delays Decision on Voting Limit, Stalling CaixaBank Bid

  • Spanish bank takeover of Portuguese lender riding on decision
  • Shareholders postpone vote in response to legal challenge

Banco BPI SA shareholders postponed a decision on whether to scrap the Portuguese lender’s voting rights limit, a condition of CaixaBank SA’s takeover bid, in response to a legal challenge.

Spain’s CaixaBank, which already owns almost half of BPI, requested a 45-day delay after Holding Violas Ferreira obtained an injunction questioning procedure at a shareholder meeting Friday, BPI Chairman Artur Santos Silva told reporters in Oporto.

“What happened isn’t good for the bank but I’m sure it will be resolved,” Santos Silva said. The suspension should resolve the issue, allowing the decision on the voting rights limit to proceed in September, he said.

CaixaBank has been trying for more than a year to buy out other BPI shareholders. Its first bid failed after shareholders opted to keep the voting rights limit in place. Spain’s third-biggest bank has offered about 900 million euros ($997 million) for the portion of BPI it doesn’t already own.

BPI’s board supports removing the cap, saying it deters shareholders from taking part in major corporate decisions, such as financing or mergers or acquisitions. Violas Ferreira, which has a 2.68 percent stake, objects that CaixaBank’s bid doesn’t reflect BPI’s value.

Under a legal change that took effect this month, all shareholders can exercise full voting rights on decisions about the cap if the board introduces the proposal. Otherwise, the voting cap applies.

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