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Largest UAE bank in advanced talks to buy Turkey’s Yapı Kredi: report

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The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is in advanced talks to acquire Turkish conglomerate Koç Group’s 61.2 percent stake in İstanbul-based lender Yapı Kredi for about $8 billion, three sources close to the matter told Reuters.

Final details of the potential deal for Turkey’s fourth-biggest private bank are being hammered out after several months of negotiations, the sources said on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

Shares in Yapı Kredi soared 10 percent after the news emerged, while Koç Holding jumped more than 9 percent, both reaching record highs. FAB shares slipped slightly.

One of the sources said Turkish conglomerate Koç had sought about $8.5 billion for its shares in Yapı Kredi and that FAB had offered about $7.5 billion.

FAB, the United Arab Emirates’ largest bank by assets, declined to comment.

In a statement to the İstanbul bourse, Koç Holding referenced the Reuters report and said it was holding preliminary talks on the sale of Yapı Kredi shares, adding that it can always negotiate “to evaluate possible alternatives” in its portfolio.

Turkey’s economy and its banks are on a sounder footing after a dramatic U-turn toward more orthodox policies since last summer, including aggressive interest rate hikes that helped rebuild some foreign reserves.

It was unclear whether FAB and Koç would ultimately reach a final deal, which could depend in part on Yapı Kredi’s second-quarter financial results, set to be announced next month.

Any deal would mark the latest Gulf investment in Turkey, whose President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has worked in recent years to repair ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia and court their funding to bolster Turkey’s sputtering economy and depleted reserves.

Ties between the regional powers had been strained by ideological differences which saw them back opposing sides across the Middle East and North Africa in the last decade.

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