Billionaire Kellner Seeks Moneta Stake to Revive Bank Merger

Billionaire Petr Kellner is proposing to buy a stake in Moneta Money Bank AS at a premium in an attempt to revive one of the largest Czech banking mergers that fell through two years ago.

Kellner’s PPF Group NV wants to acquire as much as 29% of Moneta in a tender offer to all existing shareholders next month at a price that’s 19% above the market value, the Prague-listed bank said on Friday. PPF asked Moneta management for an opinion on the offer by Jan. 29, as well as to start talks on buying PPF’s Air Bank and other Czech and Slovak financial assets through a share swap that could give the richest Czech a majority in the combined entity.

Billionaire Kellner Seeks Moneta Stake to Revive Bank Merger

Becoming a “significant” Moneta shareholder through the tender offer would allow the group to support the other proposed transaction, according to the regulatory filing.

“By means of the voluntary tender offer, PPF simultaneously gives an opportunity to Moneta’s shareholders who will not support a potential realization of the planned combination to sell their shares,” Moneta said.

The investment company is making the proposal to Moneta shareholders about two years after they opposed the terms of a merger with a different structure. PPF owns assets totaling 44 billion euros ($54 billion), including media and telecommunications companies in central and eastern Europe as well as a provider of consumer loans in China and other countries.

Moneta and PPF’s Air Bank would together hold assets totaling 454 billion koruna ($21 billion) as of the third quarter of last year, which would make the combined balance sheet the fifth largest among the country’s banks if the merger is agreed.

Billionaire Kellner Seeks Moneta Stake to Revive Bank Merger

Moneta said it’s ready to start talks with PPF on the acquisition and its parameters. It added that, in its view, PPF would most likely be required to launch a mandatory takeover bid for all Moneta shares if the two sides reached an agreement and the acquisition was carried out.

More from the Moneta statement:

  • PPF plans to make a voluntary tender offer for up to a 20% stake at 80 koruna per share, with a “right to unilaterally increase this maximum volume up to 29%.”
  • PPF seeks to carry out the voluntary tender offer in two phases; the unconditional part is capped at 10% of the total nominal value, while the rest is conditional upon approval by the Czech central bank.
  • PPF’s assets offered for sale to Moneta include Air Bank AS and its affiliates Home Credit AS, Benxy, and Home Credit Slovakia AS; the sale would be carried out through a share exchange in which PPF would gain a 39.7% stake in Moneta on top of any holdings acquired during the tender offer.
  • The voluntary tender offer isn’t conditional upon either the combination or approval of such combination by Moneta’s shareholders.

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