Saudi prince to acquire major stake in Banque Saudi Fransi

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Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has agreed to buy over half of Credit Agricole's stake in Banque Saudi Fransi, making his Kingdom Holding Co the largest shareholder in one of the country's major lenders.

The deal will strengthen the position of Kingdom Holding, already one of Saudi Arabia's biggest financial players with stakes in the local Saudi American Bank and a share in US banking giant Citigroup.

Kingdom Holding said in a statement it will acquire a 16.2 percent stake in Banque Saudi Fransi, in a deal estimated at $1.54 billion.

Another statement posted on the Saudi bourse said the completion of the deal was subject to regulatory approval, expected to be finalised before the end of the year.

After the deal, Credit Agricole's stake will be reduced to 14.9 percent, the statement said.

The French bank intends to sell another 5.0 percent of its remaining shares through market deals, but will maintain a 9.9 percent stake in Saudi Arabia's fifth-largest lender, the statement said.

Banque Saudi Fransi held assets worth $54 billion at the end of last year.

Kingdom Holding is one of the country's most important investors and has shares in the Euro Disney theme park, Apple and News Corporation among others.

© 2017 AFP

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