B of I reported making merger approach to Abbey National


Bank of Ireland have made an approach to Abbey National, Britain's sixth-biggest bank, with a view to a merger, sources indicate today.

"It is extremely early stages and certainly little likelihood that anything will come of it," one source told Reuters.

Abbey, which has a current stock market value of around stg£7 billion (€11 billion), has been seen as a takeover target after rising bad loans led to a dramatic slump in profits this year and the departure of its Chief Executive Mr Ian Harley.

The source said Bank of Ireland had approached Abbey with a suggested merger plan some weeks ago but added that the British bank felt the proposal undervalued its stock and was likely to reject it in its current form.

A spokesperson for Bank of Ireland was unavailable for comment.