Spain’s CNMC Approves Bank Acquisition With Conditions

Spain’s competition watchdog, the CNMC, on Tuesday, June 29, approved the acquisition of Liberbank by Unicaja, though the merged lender will have to accept several concessions in its retail-banking arm in an area in western Spain, it stated.

The new entity need not divest any of its businesses, a CNMC spokesperson said. In December, Unicaja agreed to buy Liberbank for around €763 million (US$908.20 million) to create Spain’s fifth-biggest domestic bank with total assets of around €110 billion.

The merger, part of a banking industry consolidation in Spain and Europe, will reduce Spain’s banks to 10 from 55 prior to the 2008 economic crisis.

The CNMC stated the new entity would not command an effective monopoly in western area of Caceres, but cited some risk for customers in three postal codes in this province, such as higher fees for Liberbank clients.

To address this, Unicaja will offer its products for three years on the same terms as those in areas where it competes the most.

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