SANTIAGO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Itau Unibanco Holding would walk away from its deal to merge with Chile’s CorpBanca if it was forced to carry out a tender offer, but does not see that as a likely outcome, a senior Itau executive told a local paper.
The $3.7 billion deal, Latin America’s largest banking merger since 2008, was agreed in January, but U.S. activist investor Cartica has tried to block it. Cartica argues that the agreement as it stands undervalues CorpBanca and that minority shareholders like itself should be able to take part in a tender offer.
However, there was little probability that such an offer would take place, and if it did, it would be a deal-breaker, Itau Vice-President for Latin America Ricardo Marino told Chilean newspaper Diario Financiero in an interview published on Thursday.
“I don’t think that will be the case. Under Chilean M&A law, a tender offer is not required and we have already spoken to the regulator, which is fine with Itau’s proposed terms,” he said.
“But if there was a tender offer, according to the contract we have the right to walk away. And we would,” added Marino.
Hedge fund Cartica’s attempt to prevent the merger via a U.S. lawsuit failed in September, although it has said it will continue to pursue Chilean legal channels to block the deal.
Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien and Felipe Iturrieta; Editing by Nick Zieminski