York Capital has distanced itself from the surprise bid for Lombard Bank shares made on Tuesday by Global Capital, saying that it is not involved.
A director for the private equity fund, Federico Oliva, said that York Capital had been interested in providing financing for some of the assets, but that nothing happened by the deadline of January 26.
"Nothing happened by that deadline so you can consider us absolutely not involved," he told Times of Malta.
Global Capital said in an official company announcement through the Malta Stock Exchange on Tuesday that its offer would be financed by the private equity firm, which has over €25 billion under management, and by other institutional and private investors, who were not named.
The sale of the shares owned by Cyprus Popular Bank has turned into a saga, with the original call for offers left in limbo when none of the 20 bidders were deemed fit to be given access to Lombard's confidential financial information.
With the clock ticking for the deadline of summer 2018 for the revenue from the sale to be used to compensate CPB depositors and shareholders, the Maltese government's passport fund, the National Development and Social Fund, agreed to buy the shares temporarily.
With the agreement due to be signed between the Cypriots and the NDSF in the coming days, Global Capital said on Tuesday that it was making a binding bid, waiving the need for due diligence.
Sources subsequently said that the bid was €8 million more than the amount being offered by the passport fund.
'Bid still stands, but we acted prematurely,' Global Capital says
Global Capital was not one of the original 20 bidders last year, but it made a non-binding offer last January when it noticed that the sale process seemed to have stalled.
Executive Chairman Paolo Catalfamo told Times of Malta on Wednesday that they had submitted a bid because they felt there was "synergy" between Lombard and Global, a regulated insurance company.
Mr Catalfamo said he was convinced Lombard Bank had "a lot of potential for growth."
He said York Capital had already been interested in the deal when the offer was made in January. However, news that the IIP Fund was out to buy the Lombard Bank shares had led him to act "prematurely".
"Our discussions with York were still bound by confidentiality at the time of Tuesday's company announcement," Mr Catalfamo acknowledged, adding that Global's bid still stood.
"I regret that I acted prematurely, we wanted to make our intentions known publicly before the IIP fund finalised the deal."
While Global Capital's January bid was non-binding, the one it announced on Tuesday is binding and waives the company's right to perform due diligence checks on the bank.
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