Finance Watch – Wall Street Journal

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Bad Bank Intends to Sell Dublin Hotel

Ireland’s bad bank is preparing to sell a prominent Dublin hotel as the city’s commercial real-estate market stages a recovery.

The National Asset Management Agency is expected to put the Gresham Hotel on the market for around €80 million ($90.6 million) by the end of this month, according to a person familiar with the plan. NAMA declined to comment.

The Gresham, a 323-room hotel in the center of Dublin, has hosted President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Beatles and Elizabeth Taylor during its nearly 200-year history.

Ireland’s property market collapsed in 2008, leading the country’s banks and government into a financial crisis that required an international bailout to avoid default. NAMA was set up in 2009 to sell soured property loans.

With strong investor demand, NAMA expects to wrap up its job by 2018, two years ahead of the original schedule.


CEO Expects a Deal With Milan Lender

Banco Popolare SC Chief Executive Pier Francesco Saviotti said Friday he hopes to close a merger agreement with Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl in a little more than a week, clinching a deal that would create Italy’s third-largest banking group by assets.

A deal would be the first induced by a law changing the governance rules of the country’s largest cooperative banks. Rome hopes the shift will trigger consolidation.

“We still need a bit of time,” to complete the deal with Banca Popolare, Mr. Saviotti said on the sidelines of an event in Milan. “There are still a few things we need to iron out, but I am confident.”

Finance Watch – Wall Street Journal}