Italy's Monte dei Paschi to Open Books to Potential Partners

Monte dei Paschi di Siena said that it would grant access to confidential data to potential merger partners selected by its advisers, as Italy presses ahead with plans to cut its stake in the state-owned bank, Reuters reported. Confirming comments to Reuters from sources earlier on Monday, Monte dei Paschi (MPS) said its board had hired Credit Suisse to help Mediobanca in the task of studying strategic options and sounding out market interest for the Tuscan bank. Despite the turmoil in the ruling coalition which risks precipitating a government crisis, the Italian Treasury is moving forward with plans to cut its 64% stake in MPS and meet pledges made to the European Union as part of the 2017 bailout. Rome has identified UniCredit as the ideal merger partner for MPS, sources have said previously, but Italy’s second-biggest bank wants strict terms to be met before considering an acquisition and is yet to sign a confidentiality agreement. The Treasury wants to see if Banco BPM, Italy’s third-largest bank which Rome last year had looked at as a possible partner for MPS, could be interested in entering the data room, one of the sources said. Read more.