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Banco Santander acquires Banco Popular

Spanish bank Banco Santander is acquiring struggling Banco Popular Espanol for the symbolic price of 1 euro. The merger will create the country’s largest bank by lending and deposits. It will have over 4 million customers. Earlier, the European Central Bank had said Popular was failing or likely to fail, owing to a significant deterioration in its liquidity situation. Banco Santander also announced a 7-billion-euro rights issue, which it said would be used to cover the capital and provisions required to strengthen Popular’s balance sheet. Banco Popular is the parent company of TotalBank, which operates from Miami. Ana Botín, chairman of Santander, said the deal was good for Spain and good for Europe, stating it would impose zero cost for taxpayers. She added that Popular was a very good strategic fit for Santander, lifting its presence in Spain at a time when the bank’s home market is going through a period of strong economic growth.

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