Apollo to Centerbridge Said to Weigh Bids to Buy Italian Banks

  • Other buyout firms considering offers include AnaCap Financial
  • Sale of four banks may fetch more than 1 billion euros

Apollo Global Management, Centerbridge Capital Partners and AnaCap Financial Partners are among private equity firms considering bidding to buy the four Italian lenders bailed out last month, according to people familiar with the matter.

The sale of the banks could fetch more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), or almost 30 percent of the 3.6 billion euros that was invested in Banca delle Marche SpA, Banca Popolare dell’Etruria e del Lazio SC, Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara SpA and Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia di Chieti SpA, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

As part of the banks’ reorganizations, they’re splitting off bad assets such as non-performing loans. The good banks will be sold together or separately and an auction will be held in February, Roberto Nicastro, the banks’ newly appointed chairman, told reporters in Milan on Dec. 3.

Nicastro has said the banks are drawing interest from Italian and international banks, as well as private equity firms.

Largest Banks

Bidders are likely to focus on the largest banks, such as Banca delle Marche, the people said. They may also bid for Banca Popolare dell’Etruria e del Lazio and merge the two lenders, they said. Deliberations are at a preliminary stage and the private equity firms may decide against a bid, the people said.

Representatives for Apollo didn’t immediately return calls and e-mails seeking comment. Representatives for AnaCap and Centerbridge wouldn’t immediately comment. A spokesman for the four banks declined to comment.

Separately, Clessidra and Warburg Pincus are among private equity firms considering bids for General Electric Co.’s GE Capital Interbanca unit in Italy as early as the coming weeks, the people said. The sale of Interbanca, which offers leasing and factoring services to small and medium-sized companies, may fetch as much as 1 billion euros and attract other bidders such as Apollo and Centerbridge, people familiar with the matter have said.

Representatives for Clessidra, GE Capital and Warburg Pincus declined to comment.

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