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What Happened When American Investors Tried to Buy the World's Oldest Bank

A group led by a former congressman made an offer for the lender in December, but people say Italian officials are worried it has little track record in banking.

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA headquarters in Siena.

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA headquarters in Siena.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

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Italian officials have been trying to find a buyer for Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA for years. But there’s at least one offer on the table that they are reluctant to consider and has been kept out of the public eye.

A group of U.S. investors led by former congressman Norman D. Dicks has been courting Italian officials since the second half of 2020 with a 4 billion-euro ($4.8 billion) plan that would use the cachet still attached to the world’s oldest bank to build a business with Italians abroad, according to two people familiar with the plan. The proposal runs counter to a longstanding government effort to orchestrate a takeover of Monte Paschi by UniCredit SpA, Italy’s second-largest bank.