By Andrea Mandala
MILAN (Reuters) – Italian lender BPER Banca <EMII.MI> on Sunday approved a revised deal with Intesa Sanpaolo <ISP.MI> to address antitrust issues in Intesa’s takeover bid for UBI Banca <UBI.MI>, a source close to the matter said.
Intesa Sanpaolo launched a bid for smaller rival UBI Banca in February but the deal ran up against antitrust hurdles.
To get the green light for the bid, Intesa had struck a deal under which BPER Banca would buy up to 500 branches and about 20 billion euros (17.9 billion pounds) in assets from the new group.
But Italy’s antitrust authority said earlier this month the takeover would strengthen or create a dominant position for Intesa in several areas.
The revised deal increases by around 50 the number of branches that BPER will buy from the combined group once Intesa has completed the takeover of UBI, the source said.
Intesa will submit the revised deal to the antitrust regulator by 0800 GMT on Monday.
A final antitrust hearing in Italy is scheduled for June 18 but a verdict is not expected until late July, complicating matters for Intesa which had initially planned to launch its bid before the summer holiday period, by which time it had expected to have cleared all regulatory hurdles.
(Writing by Francesca Landini. Editing by James Mackenzie and Jane Merriman)