Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

Lone Star mulls fourth bid for BoC


US private equity firm Lone Star could return with a fourth attempt at a Bank of Cyprus takeover, despite seeing three cash offers rejected by the island’s biggest lender.

In comments to internatio­nal media, Lone Star officials confirmed they are considerin­g their options regarding submitting a revised offer for the acquisitio­n of Bank of Cyprus. It would presumably have to be closer to a billion euros than the previous offer.

Lone Star, which invests in real estate, equity, credit, and other financial assets globally, said it offered EUR 1.51 ($1.52) per share for the bank, meaning the takeover would cost EUR 727.25 mln.

Shares in the bank, which are up about 12% this year, were worth EUR 1.25 at the time of the previous offer.

Lone Star’s first offer was made at the beginning of May, with a price of EUR 1.25 and the second at 1.38 per share.

Bank of Cyprus currently has a market cap of EUR 524.3 mln ($526.66 mln), according to financial market data provider Refinitiv, owned by the London Stock Exchange.

According to Irish regulation­s, Lone Star has until 30 September to file a new offer, as Bank of Cyprus Holdings Plc was incorporat­ed in Ireland in 2016 to list on the London Stock Exchange.

Bank of Cyprus rejected the investment fund’s successive proposals, considerin­g the institutio­n’s prospects and capabiliti­es to materialis­e its strategic plan, providing strong returns for shareholde­rs in the medium and long term.

Quoted by news site Stockwatch, a representa­tive of Lone Star who called to comment on the reasons for the rejection of its proposals by BoC said the fund acknowledg­es the strategic importance of the organisati­on for Cyprus.

“As a global investor with a strong track record of investing in the financial sector, including Germany’s IKB Deutsche Industrieb­ank AG and Portugal’s Novo Banco SA, Lone Star protects the strategic interests of these strategic financial institutio­ns as well as ensuring their progress under the ownership of the fund”.

Under Irish Takeover Rules, Lone Star must, by no later than 5 pm on 30 September, either announce a firm intention to make an offer for the company or announce that it does not intend to, while the deadline could be extended.

“There is no certainty that any formal, firm offer to acquire Bank of Cyprus will be made nor as to the terms on which any such offer might be made,” Lone Star said.

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