Bank Mergers: Lessons for the Future by Steven I. Davis (auth.)

By Steven I. Davis (auth.)

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Thus senior managers from GeÂneÂrale Bank, Banco Portugues do Atlantico and Giro Credit all now appear on the combined management boards of banks who succeeded with unfriendly bids or took over a bank by a deal with its stockholders. Outside our universe, our sources note the widespread popping of champagne corks in Banque Paribas dealing rooms when the presumably friendly SocieÂte GeÂneÂrale bid was defeated by the `unfriendly' Banque Nationale de Paris offer in 1999. Not only investment bankers but many others take a pragmatic view of their career prospects whatever their stockholders or superiors might conclude!

As the Spanish banks enter their second round of bank mergers in the past decade, they recall the market share loss incurred when they replaced old with new brands in the early 1990s. Jose Luis del Valle of Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH) recalls the earlier merger of Central and Hispano Americano: We learned a lot about single-brand strategy. People in the branches were primarily worried about the integration. ' The network just lost momentum. By maintaining three brands we may initially get fewer savings, but in the first months of the BSCH merger we haven't lost market share.

As for political involvement, we have to recognise that we live in a political world. A number of our interviewees believe strongly that flexibility is a key ingredient in planning the merger, particularly in a federal structure. Roberto Nicastro of UniCredito points out that: You have to be flexible, depending on the bank involved. If you have a high performing bank (like Rolo Banca) you don't want much interference. In other cases, you have to move very fast to make big changes. Fortis and Den Danske Bank also agree on the need for flexibility.

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