Uni Credito: An Appetite As Big As Europe

The Italian bank isn't a giant yet, but give it a little time

When the mighty Deutsche Bank snapped up 0.75% of UniCredito Italiano in January, 1999, market watchers figured they were in for a good show. It certainly looked like the prelude to a hostile bid for the Milan-based bank. They were disappointed. UniCredito Chief Executive Alessandro Profumo kept the bank's stock price sky high, making it an uncomfortably expensive target. The German bank finally cashed out in June, 2000. Asked recently about the episode, Profumo told BUSINESS WEEK, "Perhaps in 10 years, we will buy them."

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