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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        1  June 2011

Bank takeover battle in Malaysia

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The biggest takeover battle in Malaysia's corporate history is ready to take off, with banking heavyweights Malayan Banking Bhd and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd have declared their interest to wrest control of RHB Capital Bhd, which could cost over RM20billion (US6.7 billion)

Paving the way for this fight, Bank Negara yesterday gave the nod to both banking groups to separately commence talks with RHB Capital and its substantial shareholders for a possible merger of the businesses of the two banking groups. This was announced by Maybank and CIMB in separate announcements to Bursa Malaysia yesterday. The approval to commence negotiations is valid for three months from Bank Negara's letter dated May 31, 2011.

“We believe that it is incumbent on us to engage on this opportunity to put forward a value-creating merger between the two banks and support the national banking consolidation agenda,” said CIMB's group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak in a statement.

“It is, however, very early days as negotiations have not even commenced. Our stakeholders know of our track record in this area and we seek their indulgence over the next few weeks and possibly more, for us to explore possibilities with RHB's management and shareholders,” added Nazir.

In a separate statement, Maybank said the “potential transaction, if it materialises, would be consistent with Maybank's vision to become a regional financial services leader, and support its strategic objectives of being the undisputed No. 1 retail financial services provider in Malaysia and the leading Islamic bank in Asean, amongst others. The transaction will be evaluated based on the potential for value creation for Maybank's shareholders.”

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AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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