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Rumor: ITAU to buy Banamex from Citigroup

Marcia Peltier Column at Jornal do Commercio (Rio de Janeiro) says that Itau-Unibanco will announce next week the purchase of Banamex. It also says that executives from brazilian bank are already in Mexico City.

Itau-Unibanco opportunities in US crisis

There are two immediate analyses that Itaú has to do. The first is the sale of Citibank’s’ stake in the credit card processor Redecard. The stake is worth R$ 2.9 bn, at market value. Itáu declared that it is only interested in buying 24 mn shares, which will allow it to be the largest shareholder, with a 26.7% stake. At market value, Itaú will have to pay R$ 573 mn. As Redecard trades at 24x BV, it will mean that, net of tax, Itaú will pay less than R$ 400 mn. Itaú also stated that it would like to find a strategic partner for the rest of the stake. The only bank Itau would feel  fit the bill is HSBC, but we are uncertain if it desires to hold such a stake.

The second immediate opportunity that arises, also due to Citibank’s financial problems, is the sale of Citi’s Mexican bank. According to Mexican law, no foreign government can own a bank in that country. As Citi will have as a major shareholder the government of the United States, the situation forces them to sell their Mexican stake. This would be a very attractive asset for Itaú, as it would assure the bank’s international expansion. However, we expect it to let it pass due to the current process of digesting the merger with Unibanco.

Itau Unibanco are in merging process

Itaú and Unibanco have effectively begun the merger of the two banks. There are no expectations of major lay-offs, as
management expects natural turnover and retirements to decrease the total number of employees. There have been
some reductions in specific areas, but nothing significant enough to affect personnel expenses. By 1H10 the merger
should nearly be over, with only some back office mergers in 2011. According to management, there will be no
significant reduction in the number of branches.

IXE Casa de Bolsa conference call: ITAU

Source: IXE Casa de bolsa, 27.02.2009, 03.03.2009

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