Intesa should confirm in legal doc that offer still stands – UBI CEO to paper

FILE PHOTO: Pages of a cheque book of Ubi Banca Popolare di Bergamo are seen in this picture illustration February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) – Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) should disclose in a legally binding document that its takeover offer for smaller rival UBI Banca (UBI.MI) is still valid despite the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, UBI CEO Victor Massiah said in a newspaper interview.

Intesa unveiled on Feb. 17 an all-paper exchange offer for UBI to create the euro zone’s seventh-largest banking group, just days before the novel coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

UBI has said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a provision generally included in acquisition deals known as ‘material adverse change’ (MAC) clause, which gives the buyer the right to walk away from a purchase prior to its closing.

“We have written to Intesa’s board to take a stance (on the MAC clause), but the answer was that they did not think they needed to,” Massiah told La Repubblica in an interview, adding Intesa’s chief had said in interviews and comments that the offer still stood but never in a legal document.

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak, editing by Giselda Vagnoni

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