UniCredit, Intesa Say They Don't Plan to Merge, Denying Report

UniCredit SpA, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, Italy’s biggest banks, said they don’t have plans to merge after a newspaper reported a securities firm is studying a combination of the lenders.

Spokesmen for the three banks denied the plan.

An investment bank is analyzing a merger that would see a combination of Intesa and UniCredit and the spin-off of UniCredit’s Italian business, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Friday without naming anyone. Monte Paschi would combine with UniCredit’s activities in the country, Il Sole said.

"We see such a combination as hardly feasible given the territorial overlap -- not only in Italy, the antitrust limits, the governance, the impact on employment," Riccardo Rovere, an analyst at Mediobanca SpA, wrote in report Friday. "If – as the press suggests – one of the goals of such transaction would be finding a partner for Monte Paschi as required by the regulators, we view such way as overly complicated."

Monte Paschi shares rose as much as 1.9 percent and were 1.7 percent higher as of 9:37 a.m. in Milan, while UniCredit gained as much as 1.4 percent and Intesa as much as 1.7 percent.

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