Lone Star confirmed for “exclusive” negotiations in sale of Novo Banco

In what has become the most tortuous sale of a bank that is apparently worth nothing, regulators today have confirmed that “exclusive negotiations” are now going ahead with American equity firm Lone Star.

This is not really ‘news’, in that the choice of Lone Star was more or less confirmed over a month ago, as the “least bad option” (click here).

Bank of Portugal – po-faced about the deal as it will turn out to be as ‘ruinous’ for the country as critics always said it would be – has been loathe to say much more in the intervening period in which president Carlos Costa is said to have become “more and more isolated”.

The initial ‘problems’ with Lone Star centred on State guarantees the Americans wanted, which Portugal’s government was unwilling to give.

This new stage of negotiations now involves the European Commission which will need to rubber-stamp the terms of the eventual sale.

On national television last night, commentator Marques Mendes said the final deal would almost certainly involve Lone Star buying a percentage (possibly 65%) with 25% to remain in the ownership of the Resolution Fund, and 10% to be taken up by Portuguese businesses.

Lone Star is thought to be ready to inject €1 billion into the trouble-torn bank that rose, albeit not high enough, from the smouldering ashes of Banco Espírito Santo.

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