HSBC Holdings, Europe’s biggest bank, is interested in buying Turkey’s Denizbank from Dexia, the first lender to founder with the European debt crisis, two people with knowledge of the process said.
The global lender is vying with OAO Sberbank and Qatar National Bank, the Gulf country’s biggest bank by assets, which said on Tuesday that it was negotiating to buy a controlling stake in Denizbank.
QNB has retained Citigroup to advise on the purchase, two people familiar with the plan said, declining to be identified as the talks were private.
For London-based HSBC, the acquisition would expand its business in Europe’s fastest-growing economy, which the lender entered more than 20 years ago and where it operates more than 300 branches. Denizbank had 39bn Turkish lira ($21bn) in assets and 540 branches in the country as of June, according to its website.
Denizbank shares rose 6.3 percent to 16.05 lira at the close in Istanbul, giving it a market value of more than $6bn. Brussels-based Dexia owns more than 99.8 percent of Denizbank, with the rest traded on the exchange, a small enough free float that Denizbank’s market capitalization may not reflect its actual value, one of the people said.
Spokesmen for HSBC, Dexia and Citigroup declined to comment.