Santander to Purchase Stake in Sovereign Bancorp
Banco Santander Central Hispano is to purchase roughly 90 million shares of Sovereign Bank for approximately $2.4bn in cash. The $784bn-in-assets Banco Santander will now be the bank’s largest shareholder with a 20 per cent stake. Banco Santander is the largest financial group in Spain and Latin America and is a major institution elsewhere in Europe, together with the United Kingdom through its Abbey subsidiary and Portugal, where Santander is the third largest banking group. Under the agreement, following its completion of the 20 per cent stake of Sovereign, Santander has the option to increase its ownership up to 24.9 per cent over the next 24 months. After that period, Santander can choose to maintain its investment or increase it to 100 per cent.