Analysis & Comment

Norway's antitrust regulator blocks DNB's $1.3 billion Sbanken takeover

FILE PHOTO: A view of Norwegian bank DNB’s offices in Riga, Latvia, November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

OSLO (Reuters) -Norway’s Competition Authority (NCA) rejected on Tuesday Norwegian bank DNB’s plan to buy online rival Sbanken as the deal would hurt customers in the mutual fund market.

The decision was in line with the NCA’s preliminary findings here released in August. More than 90% of Sbanken’s shareholders had accepted DNB’s offer of 11.1 billion crowns ($1.28 billion).

“The Norwegian Competition Authority has decided to prohibit DNB’s acquisition of Sbanken,” the NCA said in a statement.

The decision can be appealed, however, to the Norwegian Competition Tribunal within 15 days.

Norway’s bank regulator and the finance ministry had both given their blessings to the deal, leaving the competition authority, and its appeal board, as the final hurdle.

More than 90% of Sbanken’s shareholders had accepted DNB’s offer.

($1 = 8.7052 Norwegian crowns)

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