21/11/2012 02:35:00

Bank of the Philippine Islands, Philippine National Bank Confirm Talks Of Merger

By Rhea Sandique-Carlos

MANILA--Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI.PH) and the Philippine National Bank (PNB.PH) confirmed Wednesday they are in talks toward a possible merger.

"We confirm that there have been discussions between the Lucio Tan Group [which controls PNB] and the Ayala Group [which controls BPI]," the two lenders said in separate filings to the stock exchange.

PNB said a disclosure will be made Wednesday regarding the deal.

The Philippine Stock Exchange said a trading suspension on both PNB and BPI shares will be implemented Wednesday.

The filings confirm a report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer that said BPI is in advance talks to acquire a majority stake in PNB.

The combined assets of the two banks is about 1.2 trillion Philippine pesos ($29 billion), comparable to BDO Unibank Inc., the country's largest lender in terms of assets, the newspaper said.

Write to Rhea Sandique-Carlos at rhea.sandique-carlos@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 20, 2012 21:35 ET (02:35 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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