UPDATE: FBN Holdings Plc reacts to merger speculations

FBN Holdings Plc has issued a statement in reaction to a media publication, yesterday, which suggested that there are ongoing merger talks between its main subsidiary — First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, Polaris Bank Ltd, and Heritage Bank Plc.

In the statement, which was made available via the Nigerian Stock Exchange website, FBN Holdings admitted that it has recently been presented with merger and acquisition opportunities, much like every other commercial bank in the country.

The company also noted that it understands why analysts are speculating that it might currently be involved in merger and acquisition talks, bearing in mind that First Bank is one of the biggest and most liquid banks in the country.

No definite response: Having noted all these, FBN Holdings Plc refused to categorically confirm or deny its supposed involvement in the reported ongoing merger talks with Polaris Bank Ltd.

According to the statement, FBN is choosing to be mindful of its reactions regarding this topic. The company said it believes that inorganic growth such as the one presented by merger/acquisition, will always be a growth strategy for many banks.

Never say never: In the meantime, FBN Holdings Plc said it will only consider the merger/acquisition option if it finds an opportunity that guarantees value addition to its shareholders.

Should the company eventually find such an opportunity that is “value accretive” to its shareholders, it will properly communicate the development to the general public, in line with regulatory requirements.

Here’s the backstory: On Thursday, March 12, Daily Independence published a report claiming that First Bank of Nigeria Ltd is set to merge with Polaris Bank Ltd and Heritage Bank Plc.

Polaris Bank, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Fraud case

According to the report, anonymous sources close to the bank confirmed the development. The sources told the news outlet that the three financial institutions are pursuing the said merger/acquisition talks “vigorously”. Polaris Bank Ltd, which was formerly Skye Bank Plc, was said to be up for outright sale.

Recall that Polaris Bank Ltd, which became a bridge bank following a 2018 restructuring, is currently under the management of the Asset Management Corpora­tion of Nigeria (AMCON).

As Nairametrics had reported, Skye Bank’s operating license was withdrawn in September 2018 by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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