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BBVA buys 24.9 pct Garanti stake in $5.8 bln deal

Source: Reuters - Tue 2th Nov 2010

Spanish bank BBVA has bought a 24.9 percent stake in Turkish peer Garanti Bank, mostly from General Electric, in a $5.8 billion deal, and is to carry out a 5.1 billion euro capital hike.

Garanti's parent company, Dogus Group, and BBVA will jointly run the bank with a combined stakeholding of 49.8 percent, BBVA said on Tuesday.

Analysts had said a controlling stake for BBVA was essential for the success of any deal.

GE first announced in February it wanted to sell its stake in Garanti, viewed as one of Turkey's best-run banks, but had a hard time finding a buyer as banks struggled in the wake of the financial crisis.

Analysts have questioned the logic behind a move into Turkey by BBVA, the bulk of whose investments outside Spain lie in Latin America and the United States.

The deal comprises a payment of 4.2 billion euros and 8 Turkish lira per share, and comprises an 18.6 percent stake in Garanti from General Electric and a 6.3 percent stake from Dogus.

BBVA said the 5.1 billion euro capital hike was to improve its financial structure, and the funds could be used towards the Turkish buy.

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