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Intesa sells 584 million euro Nexi stake at 11% discount

FILE PHOTO: New Intesa Sanpaolo skyscraper, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, is seen in Turin

By Valentina Za and Alvise Armellini

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's biggest lender Intesa Sanpaolo on Tuesday said it had sold its entire 5.1% stake in Nexi, its long-term retailers' payments partner, for 584 million euros ($606 million).

The sale of the holding, carried out overnight at a 10.86% discount to Monday's closing price as it is customary in such transactions, pushed Nexi shares sharply lower.

Intesa took advantage of last week's rally in the shares triggered by Nexi's better than expected quarterly results reported on the same day that U.S. inflation data buoyed global markets.

Nexi's closing price of 9.76 euros a share on Monday compared with 8.92 euros last Wednesday, the day before it beat third quarter revenue and core profit forecasts.

Intesa said it sold its stake in Nexi at 8.70 euros per share through an accelerated book-building process managed by its investment banking arm with BofA Securities and JPMorgan.

The bank did not disclose the financial impact of the transaction nor say how it would use the proceeds.

However, analysts said the sale was not expected to have an impact on Intesa's profit and loss statement despite it having paid 10.5 euros per share for the stake, given quarterly mark-to-market accounting.

In terms of capital, there should be a slight benefit from the reduction in risk-weighted assets, broker Equita said, adding the sale may be part of steps Intesa had said it would take to offset negative regulatory impacts on capital in early 2023.

Such impacts are set to shave nearly half a percentage point off Intesa's core capital ratio, Milan-based Equita added. The ratio stood at 12.4% at the end of September, compared with a self-imposed 12% minimum threshold.

Nexi's shares fell 10.5% to 8.73 euros by 1020 GMT.

Intesa paid 653 million euros in 2020 for a 9.9% stake in Nexi. The holding has since shrunk with Nexi issuing new shares following mergers with Nordic rival Nets and domestic peer SIA.

The stake purchase was part of a broader 1 billion euro deal that saw Intesa sell its retailers' payment business to Nexi and strike a partnership until the end of 2044, which Intesa on Monday said would not be affected by the sale of its shares.($1 = 0.9636 euros)

(Reporting by Valentina Za and Alvise Armellini; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)