A Jordanian consortium has lodged a bid for Saudi Oger’s 20 percent stake in the Arab Bank after Saudi Arabia’s Fawaz Alhokair family withdrew its own $1.1 billion offer, Reuters reported citing banking sources.
A deal with investors led by Arab Bank Chairman Sabih al Masri could be close, one source said. “A transaction has been finalized. Sabih al Masri has put together a Jordanian led deal to purchase the shares from Oger after the Alhokair offer played itself out.”
The Alhokair family, which has major holdings in Saudi Arabia’s retail and real estate sectors, was in talks to purchase the stake in the Arab Bank after cash-strapped construction giant Saudi Oger began searching for buyers to help it weather the current slow down in the Saudi economy.
It’s not known why the Alhokair family decided to pull its offer, Reuters said. But Jordanian authorities are keen to see the Arab Bank, which has assets of more than $46 billion, remain in domestic ownership. “There has historically been a battle to keep the bank as Jordanian as possible. Whoever buys 20 percent and becomes the largest shareholder surely would influence it. This would have be alarming to the Jordanians,” a senior financial source said.
The Alhokair family and Saudi Oger were not immediately available for comment.