Hypo Alpe Balkan Sale Reopened After Advent Deadline Expires

Austria is reopening the bidding for Hypo Group Alpe Adria AG after a deal with Advent International Corp. collapsed, two people with knowledge of the process said.

Previous bidders who had made a binding offer will be allowed to take part in the new sale process, which will be firmed up in coming weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to comment publicly. That would include Advent and those ruled out when Advent gained exclusivity.

Bayerische Landesbank, the former owner of Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International AG, failed to approve the sale to Advent yesterday, the deadline for signing the agreement. The Bavarian bank said its rights were violated when Hypo Alpe was broken up before the planned deal and that as a result it can’t legally take a position on the agreement.

Austria is seeking to recoup money for its taxpayers, who have already spent 5.5 billion euros ($6.8 billion) to wind down the failed company, which has been turned into a “bad bank” and renamed Heta Asset Resolution AG. Hypo Group owns banks in the former Yugoslavia that are still operating.

More Charges

Heta confirmed in a statement that exclusivity for the talks with Advent expired yesterday and said that it won’t be in charge of the sale anymore. That process will now be led by Fimbag, a state agency that’s managing Austria’s stakes in failed lenders, it said. Heta may have to book additional charges, which it will determine in the coming weeks.

Advent is still working toward signing the deal and its offer remains intact, a spokesman for the private equity firm said.

Hypo Alpe, based in the southern Austria city of Klagenfurt, has total assets of 8.4 billion euros. The sale must be closed by the end of 2015, according to the terms of the European Union’s state aid approval for Hypo Alpe.

The race for Hypo Alpe was down to two bidders in July, people familiar with the deal said at the time. On top of Advent, which had teamed up with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a group led by Bulgarian businessman Denis Barekov’s Via Group and Russian bank VTB Group had been in the running.

Hypo Alpe’s sale is managed by Deutsche Bank AG.

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