It’s done. With the success of the Credit Agricole Italia on CreVal, the French have taken another step in their expansion process in Italy.
“Today we have concluded, with great satisfaction, an operation that represents a success for everyone. This is a further confirmation of the deep roots in Italy and the confidence of the Crédit Agricole Group in our country ”. Thus the CEO of Crédit Agricole Italia and Head of Crédit Agricole SA Group for Italy, Giampiero Maioli, commented on the success of the Banque Verte takeover of the Valtellina bank, after the results of the subscriptions, and the official deadline of the takeover bid, which had been extended to Friday 23 April.
Everything okay, then? For the French certainly. French with an inextinguishable appetite, it would seem, given that April 24th The Republic he speculated that, after taking control of CreVal, Credit Agricole could aim for another Italian morsel: Carige.
“Appetite comes with eating and there is definitely a bite to cook: Carige. The sales process, entrusted to Deutsche Bank, could have a quick turnaround time. There are those who imagine that the offers could arrive before the summer. Maioli could be in the game. He certainly knows Liguria well, where he already has Carispezia. And he also knows the seller well, the Interbank Fund, from which he got the savings banks ”.
In short, would the Banque Verte also focus on Carige? An interest would not be a totally unrealistic hypothesis.
However the Genoese morsel is ready, after the negotiations between the FITD, the first shareholder, and the second shareholder Cassa Centrale Banca – who ultimately decided not to exercise the option to purchase the 80% stake held by the fund – were wrecked, delivering Carige officially at the market.
In this regard, in an article dedicated to the success of the Credit Agricole Italia takeover, Il Sole 24 Ore wrote: “On the market we look with insistence at Carige, a bank that has been looking for a new partner for some time, a target that could fall between also the aims of Bper. The next few months will be decisive “
Takeover bid for Credit Agricole Italia: subscriptions to 91% of CreVal shares
The success of the Credit Agricole Italia takeover bid was made official on Friday 23 April, with a statement released by the Banque Verte:
“On the basis of the provisional results communicated by the appointed intermediaries, approximately 90.94% of the CreVal shares subject to the Offer, representing approximately 88.71% of the share capital of CreVal, were tendered to the Offer during the Acceptance Period. Consequently, taking into consideration the 2.45% stake in CreVal already held, Crédit Agricole Italia will come to hold a total of 91.17% of the share capital of CreVal, above the target threshold of 90% “.
It must be said that at a certain point the takeover bid was defined in the same way as Mission Impossible, due to the continuous questioning and response of the interested parties on the price of the offer: in the end, it prevailed, thanks to Credit Agricole’s decision to yield to the pressure of the hedge funds shareholders of the Valtellinese institute.
Moreover, CreVal of Valtellinese and also of Italian in the end had very little.
Here, more information on the pre-takeover shareholding of Credito Valtellinese, which saw the institution in the hands mainly of UK funds and also of a Russian fund.
Takeover bid for Credit Agricole and the fear of the French invasion
The takeover bid, surprisingly, had been announced exactly five months before the announcement of its success, that is last November 23 of 2020, at the price of € 10.50 per share.
Credit Agricole Italia CEO Giampiero Maioli immediately pointed out that it was one Italy operation on Italy.
No French invasion of Italy, an editorial from Il Foglio immediately pointed out: “They call it ‘invasion’, it’s competition “, the newspaper pointed out that, in addition to pointing out that two Italian banks were talking about – it was Credit Agricole Italia which had launched the takeover bid on Creval – he wrote that the alliance would also take place in compliance with the wishes of the ECB. In short, “other than colonizers”.
At the beginning of 2021 the center-right however it was activated, presenting a motion with which it launched a real alarm on the risk of one French mps and in general of a kind of Paris takeover bid on Italian savings.
However, after a while, in mid-February, the decision of the Draghi government arrived do not exercise golden power, practically giving a green light to the takeover bid.
The following weeks were all focused on the crucial question “the price is right?”, with a lot of criticism coming not only from the hedge funds shareholders holding a share of the capital of Credito Valtellinese higher than 20% but from the board itself, which defined the price as inconsistent.
The CEO of Creval, Luigi LoVaglio, defined the Valtellinese bank a little gem which, evidently, deserved much more than that 10.50 per share.
The takeover bid, which then officially started on March 30th, initially had an outcome that was not at all obvious, since someone was also looking at the other possibility: an M&A operation between the two banks from Valtellina CreVal and Popolare di Sondrio, in view of the transformation of the latter into an SpA, metamorphosis expected by the end of the year.
The rest is part of the news of the last few days. Agitated chronicle, since the French finally adjusted the price of the takeover bid a € 12.20 per share, plus an extra bonus of € 0.3 in the event that the final subscriptions to the takeover bid exceed 90 per cent.
But nothing to do: the offer was again sent back to the sender.
The war of nerves has been going on for a while yet‘, until the French surrendered again, removing that condition of accessions above 90% to which the price of 12.50 per share.
And there the situation has finally unlocked, With the’French businessman Denis Dumont and various hedge funds, including the Petrus fund, Alta Global Investments, Hosking Partners and Tig Advisors, which have confirmed their commitment to join the takeover bid.
Credit Agricole It, Maioli: with CreVal a bank with 3 million customers
On Friday 23 April, the announcement of the boom in subscriptions to around 91%, which confirmed the success of the takeover bid:
“With CreVal we will further strengthen commitment to sustainable growth, able to generate benefits for all stakeholders, shareholders and, in particular, customers and people who work there – said the CEO of Credit Agricole Italia, Giampiero Maioli, commenting on the success of the operation – I want to send a warm I greet all CreVal colleagues: in the coming months it will be a priority for us to meet them, listen to them and share with them all the advantages deriving from belonging to a large international group. We will continue to invest in the real economy, making all our skills and solidity available to businesses and families. It is our raison d’etre and the way in which Crédit Agricole has worked every day in Italy for more than 40 years, enhancing all the territories in which it is present and building lasting relationships with all communities. Our Group has always been and will continue to be at the service of our country, to contribute to the relaunch phase that sees us as protagonists in Europe ”.
The same press release states that, from the success of the takeover bid, “a solid Italian banking group will be born, at the service of 3 million customers, with positive impacts on the economic situation of the territories concerned and to the benefit of all stakeholders “.
Again, Credit Agricole Italia specifies that “the terms of the acquisition fully comply with the strict criteria of financial discipline of Crédit Agricole: Return on Investment expected over 10% within the third year, based solely on cost and funding synergies; EPS transaction accretive at Crédit Agricole SA level from 2022. Limited impact of approx -20 bps on the CET1 ratio at Crédit Agricole SA level.
In short, it’s really done. Although for some the operation simply sanctioned another step that the French predators have taken in the land of Italian conquest. Furthermore, a step that would not be the last, if it is true that now the aims of Maioli & Co could focus on Carige.