MADRID–Spain’s BBVA financial group said Thursday it was in talks to possibly take a stake in major Turkish bank Garanti Bankasi, reportedly at a price of up to 3.6 billion euros. In response to press reports about the negotiations, the second largest Spanish bank issued a statement to Spanish financial regulator CNMV confirming that talks were under way. “BBVA confirms the existence of talks about the possible acquisition of a stake in the Turkish bank Turkiye Garanti Bankasi, AS, although it cannot say whether these talks will actually result in an agreement.” The bank said it could not confirm the terms or conditions of any deal that might be reached. Several newspapers said BBVA was in talks to buy the 20.85-percent stake in Garanti Bankasi now held by U.S. giant General Electric Co.
Bankasi is the largest Turkish bank in terms of market value and one of the country’s three major banking groups. The Spanish financial daily Expansion quoted financial sources and the Turkish press as saying BBVA was ready to pay between 3.2 billion and 3.6 billion euros for the stake and would raise extra capital to finance the purchase. BBVA shares were down in early trade after the bank’s statement, trading 0.89 percent lower at 9.901 euros on a market where the Ibex-35 was down 0.05 percent.