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MADRID, December 29 (Reuters) – The boards of Spanish lenders Unicaja and Liberbank on Tuesday approved the terms of a comprehensive deal that will create Spain’s fifth-largest bank with around € 110 billion ($ 134.71 billion dollars) of assets.
Under the terms of the deal, in which Unicaja will fully absorb Liberbank by mid to late 2021, the exchange ratio is set at 2.7705 Liberbank shares for each Unicaja share, the lenders said.
The deal follows the approval of a merger earlier this month between state-owned bank Bankia and Caixabank to create the nation’s largest lender and marks an acceleration in industry consolidation after BBVA and Sabadell canceled merger talks last month.
Current Unicaja board chairman Manuel Azuaga will be the future chairman of the combined entity, the bank said, while Liberbank CEO Manuel Menendez will be the new company’s CEO.
The deal has yet to be approved by shareholders in votes to be held in the first quarter of 2021.
Workforce overlaps will be analyzed after the merger, Unicaja said, adding that no staffing decisions have yet been made.
European banks are under increasing pressure to join forces to cope with rising bad debts and record interest rates.
The Unicaja-Liberbank agreement will reduce the number of Spanish lenders to 10, which already represents the Bankia-Caixabank agreement – against 55 before the 2008 financial crisis. ($ 1 = 0.8166 euros) (Report by Jesús Aguado, Clara-Laeila Laudette and Nathan Allen, edited by Andrei Khalip and Nick Zieminski)