Banco Santander Pays 1 Euro For Banco Popular To Create Spain's Biggest Bank

By Barbara Kollmeyer Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Spain's Banco Santander SA said Wednesday it will take over struggling Banco Popular Espanol SA for the symbolic price of 1 euro, creating the country's largest bank by lending and deposits, according to a press statement. Shares of Banco Popular have more than halved year-to-date as the bank has struggled under the weight of bad loans leftover from the 2008 crisis. On Tuesday, the European Central Bank said Popular was failing or likely to fail, owing to a significant deterioration in its liquidity situation. Banco Santander also announced a 7 billion euro ($7.88 billion) rights issue, which it said would be used to "cover the capital and provisions required to strengthen Popular's balance sheet."

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