Marfin shareholders reject Piraeus bid

Marfin Popular Bank (MPB) said yesterday its main shareholders had rejected Piraeus Bank’s takeover offer, a day after its proposal for both to re-evaluate a possible linkup was turned down. The two banks launched rival takeover bids for each other last month. But MPB’s tenders for Piraeus and Bank of Cyprus were ruled invalid by the Cyprus securities watchdog. Piraeus Bank’s offer for at least 40 percent of MPB valued it at about half its market value of -6.4 billion ($8.3 billion). On Monday, MPB proposed that the two banks disclose more details on a possible tie-up, suggesting it could consider an improved valuation. MPB said that although Piraeus Bank’s proposed share swap was totally unacceptable, it was still willing to look at it in a positive light, «given its stated strategy aimed at concentration in the banking sector to create synergies and earnings per share growth.» But Piraeus responded that its offer of one share for every 5.7 shares of MPB was «fair and reasonable,» giving no signs it was willing to raise its offer. MPB said that after Piraeus Bank’s refusal to agree to the mutual disclosure of data, MPB’s main shareholders Vassilis Theoharakis, the Lanitis family and Andreas Vgenopoulos informed the bank’s board that they rejected Piraeus Bank’s offer. These shareholders own 10.72 percent of Marfin Popular and along with Dubai Financial, which has also turned down the offer, a total of 27.65 percent of voting shares are against the offer by Piraeus. (Reuters)