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Piraeus Bank Merger Bid – Procedures and Reactions

Piraeus Bank bided for the Greek government’s stakes in ATE Bank and Hellenic Postbank, Piraeus Chief Michallis Sallas announced yesterday at a press conference. The bid is at total EUR 701 million and thus in cash.

Greek Finance Ministry said in a statement “it is studying the offer”. But for the government to decide is not a simple task. 

Bankers state that for reasons of transparency the government must initiate proceedings for an international open tender which other stakeholders will appear. 

This means that the government must first investigate the value of government holdings in domestic credit system, especially in ATE Bank and Postbank. This procedure would start next week.

Furthermore the government will be asked to submit proposals on the most suitable moves for the interests of the public banks. It may propose a merger, a sale of shares or sale of entire shareholding. Government holds 77,35 % in ATE Bank and 33,04 %  in Postbank. The whole procedure would go into September.

What’s the other players’ next move?

Questions arise about the moves of other strong shareholders of the public banks to be sold. National Bank of Greece controls 6% and Eurobank another 6% of the Postbank. Will they remain uninvolved? Will they sell or increase their percentage?

In any case the proposal of Piraeus initiates a domino effect in the domestic banking scene where big players cannot but get involved. Bankers speaking to Greek media agree that in 6-12 months from now the Greek banking system will have be completely changed in form.

Realization Chances of the Big Deal

 Questions also rise in where Piraeus Bank will get the money from to buy ATE and Postbank. Rumors have it that Piraeus will get a negative grade at the stress test of European Regulators. This possibility is high. CEO Sallas gains time by biding for two banks and at the same time it brings the merger stones into rolling, just as the government wanted. Smart guy!

 The majority of friends of mine who work at the banking sector raised doubts about the realization possibilities of the big deal. However they describe it as a definite “clever move yet with a clear political facet”. 


Turmoil is among employees of ATE and Postbank. They feel unsecure about their workplaces even though Mihalis Sallas said yesterday there will be no firing. Today the employees of the banks concerned held a strike.

 Employees of Piraeus Bank are concerned and cautious.

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