Nigeria’s largest lender by customer base, Access Bank Plc has refuted rumours that it is in talks to acquire Union Bank of Nigeria plc.
Union Bank is a publicly-listed midsized Nigerian lender with Atlas Mara as one of its major shareholders.
Access Bank said in a statement made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange:
“Our attention has been drawn to recent social media report of Access Bank Plc is engaged in talks to acquire Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.”
“The Nigerian Stock Exchange and the general public are hereby advised to discountenance such rumour as same is devoid of truth. The Bank is not engaged in any discussion with Union Bank of Nigeria Plc or any of its shareholders regarding any such transaction.” Access Bank said in the statement.”
The rebuttal is coming fee days after we reported that sources claimed that Access Bank was in talks with Union Bank for a possible acquisition deal.
While Union Bank of Nigeria has not officially commented on the rumour, sources close to the bank claimed that there was no iota of truth in the rumour.
A financial analyst who craved anonymity said it is possible the bank has no discussion to acquire Union Bank or any bank for that matter but it is a protocol for parties in such sensitive engagements to deny when such information is leaked by any means.
It would be recalled that Access Bank had denied there was any acquisition or merger talks with Diamond Bank. Few months after, the tier one lender announced a merger between the two banks to form the new Access Bank.
Access Bank became Nigeria’s lender by customer base after it acquired Diamond Bank, largely retail banking group in a cash and equity transaction.
In the last decade, Access Bank had accelerated it growth through a non-orgarnic means.
In 2012, Access Bank made it boldest move to expand after it acquired 75% stake in Intercontinental Bank plc, a struggling tier one lender taken over by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria.