Emirates NBD closes in on Denizbank acquisition

Emirates NBD was in preliminary talks to buy Denizbank from Russia’s Sberbank in January, but the plan met with resistance from President Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Emirates NBD closes in on Denizbank acquisition

ANKARA/DUBAI: Emirates NBD could agree to buy Turkey’s Denizbank within weeks, after intense lobbying by the Turkish bank to convince President Tayyip Erdogan of the benefits of the potential $5.3 billion deal.
Dubai’s biggest bank, Emirates NBD said it was in preliminary talks to buy Denizbank from Russia’s Sberbank in January, but the plan has met resistance from Erdogan.
While Erdogan does not have direct control over Turkey’s banks, the president could potentially block any deal by telling the country’s BDDK banking watchdog not to approve it.
Repeated efforts by Denizbank’s chief executive to persuade Erdogan of the case for the takeover illustrate the president’s important role in sealing major deals in Turkey.
Although it still requires approval, the deal is expected to be agreed in the next few weeks.
The BDDK did not respond to a request for comment.
“I’m not saying this deal will fall through, but it wouldn’t be realistic to say these developments are supportive of the negotiations,” one senior official in Ankara said.
Emirates NBD, Sberbank and Denizbank all declined to comment, as did Erdogan’s office.
Denizbank Chief Executive Hakan Ates has met Erdogan and other senior officials in Ankara over the past month in an attempt to convince them that the deal would be positive for Turkey’s banking system.
Denizbank is Turkey’s ninth-largest lender by assets, making it a relatively small player in a fast-growing market. Sberbank, which is selling Denizbank as part of a broader regional strategy shift, paid around $3.5 billion for it in 2012.
Shares in Denizbank have risen around 70 percent this year, helped by news of the talks, giving it a $5.3 billion market value.
Emirates NBD, which previously acquired BNP Paribas’ Egyptian business, has been scouting for opportunities in the Turkish banking sector for several years as part of its international expansion.


EU gives Nestle a thumbs down in Kit Kat finger row

Updated 55 min 48 sec ago
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EU gives Nestle a thumbs down in Kit Kat finger row

  • Nestle has been locked in a decade-long battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit, which was first sold in 1935.
  • The EU’s intellectual property office allowed Nestle in 2006 to trademark what the court calls the “three-dimensional shape of the ‘Kit Kat 4 fingers’ product.”

Luxembourg: The European Union’s top court should cancel Swiss food giant Nestle’s trademark for the shape of the Kit Kat chocolate bar, the court’s top adviser said Thursday.
Nestle has been locked in a decade-long battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit, which was first sold in 1935.
The EU’s intellectual property office allowed Nestle in 2006 to trademark what the court calls the “three-dimensional shape of the ‘Kit Kat 4 fingers’ product.”
Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said the European Court of Justice (ECJ) should dismiss an appeal by Nestle against a lower court’s 2016 decision to annul the trademark.
“Nestle did not adduce sufficient evidence to show that its trademark had acquired distinctive character,” Wathelet said.
He said the intellectual property office should now “re-examine” its decision.
The Luxembourg-based ECJ often, but not always, follows the advice of the advocate general, its senior legal adviser, when making its final judgment.
The food giant specifically failed to show that the Kit Kat shape was well enough known in Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal, relying instead on market data from other countries, he said.
The official also said the EU court should reject an appeal by Mondelez against part of the judgment, saying it was “manifestly inadmissible.”
Nestle has already lost a legal bid in Britain — currently an EU member state but set to leave next year — to trademark the Kit Kat shape.