A Big Bank Merger in Greece?


National Bank of Greece S.A. (NYSE: NBG) is currently halted for trading, even the ADRs trading in New York. Shares were up about 4.5% in Athens before even the Greeks halted trading. The driving force in the news is that National Bank of Greece is in merger talks with Eurobank Ergasias.

National Bank of Greece has done deals before, but this would be different. An outright merger would signal that the Greek bank sector wants to further consolidate so that it can ride out whatever ailments are headed that way in what is going to be nothing short of a rocky future in Greece.

What makes the situation so difficult in Greece is that a no-confidence vote can create new elections, and therefore can create a new government. That means that whatever agreements get signed by any current Greek parliament can be tossed out by future regimes. Ultimately this is why the Greek situation is such a wild card for the euro as the "on again, off again" winds of change can rise at any time.

Until the NYSE and/or Athens Stock Exchange release trading and until formal news reports are out from one or both of the banks, we are going to consider this nothing short of a developing story … or a rumor.

The New York-listed ADRs closed at $2.50 on Thursday against a 52-week range of $1.12 to $4.10.


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Banking & Finance, International Markets, Rumors Tagged: featured, NBG