Emilio Botin for Citigroup CEO!

Chalk up another victory for Santander’s Emilio Botín. When I said

last month that he was the big winner in the Battle of ABN Amro, I was concentrating

mainly on Banco Real, the Brazilian bank that Santander now owns. But Santander

also ended up with ABN’s unloved Italian arm, Antonveneta. ABN overpaid for

the bank in 2005, after getting caught up in a bidding war with Italy’s BPI,

and ended up buying

the bank at a valuation of €7.6 billion. By the time Santander got

it, two years later, the Spaniards valued the franchise at only €6.6 billion,

including its respected Interbanca merchant banking business.

But there’s a sucker born every minute, and Botín has now managed to

sell Antonveneta, sans Interbanca, for an astonishing €9 billion

to Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena. And boy is the market punishing

MPS for agreeing to such a ridiculous acquisition: MPS is now valued at

little more than €9 billion itself. Meanwhile, check out the chart of Santander’s

share price: the Spanish bank is now worth $136 billion, compared to a market

cap of $160 billion for Citigroup. Now there’s an idea: maybe Santander

should buy Citigroup! If anybody’s capable of running an enormous international

bank, it’s Emilio Botín.

This entry was posted in banking. Bookmark the permalink.