Spain's Santander said on Thursday it was selling Italian corporate banking arm Interbanca to General Electric in exchange for consumer finance units in a deal worth 1 billion euros ($1.7 billion).
In a statement, Santander said it would acquire GE Money's units in Germany, Finland and Austria as well as its card and auto-financing businesses in Britain.
Santander, which has been trying to build up its presence in the highly profitable consumer finance business, said the GE units had total assets of 9 billion euros.
Santander picked up Interbanca in a three-way break-up bid for ABN AMRO last year.
In November, the Spanish bank agreed to sell the other Italian asset it bought from ABN AMRO, Antonveneta, to Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena and said it would also divest Interbanca at the right price.
Interbanka is an Italian merchant bank that specializes in lending and financing transactions for medium-sized firms. Its headquarters are in Milan and it has 10 branches in major cities throughout Italy.
At that time, the corporate bank was valued at about 800 million to 1.1 billion euros.
Grupo Santander is a banking group centered around Banco Santander, the largest bank in Spain, which originated in Santander, Cantabria, Spain. It is the third largest bank in Europe in terms of market capitalization, and also has numerous operations in Latin America. It has rebranded most of the subsidiaries it has acquired to Santander.
Grupo Santander consists of 126,000 employees, 68 million customers, 10,000 branches and 2.6 million shareholders. Retail banking - the main aspect of Santander's operations - generates 82% of the group's profit. The group is amongst the top ten banking organisations in the world and is the biggest bank in the Eurozone. Currently, they are a corporate sponsor of the McLaren-Mercedes Formula 1 team and the Copa Libertadores de America.
The General Electric Company is a multinational American technology and services conglomerate incorporated in the State of New York. In terms of market capitalization, GE is the world's second largest company and also second in the BrandZ ranking.
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