Putin Warns About Bank Takeovers

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday called on regional authorities to prevent local financial institutions from becoming the target of hostile takeovers amid a liquidity crisis, Interfax reported.

"If it is economically feasible to do so, regional authorities must help financial organizations to join forces — if, of course, this is what it takes to resolve economic and social tasks," Putin told a meeting with regional United Russia party officials in the Samara region, the news agency said.

Putin also called on United Russia-led regional governments across the country to keep in touch with the local offices of the Central Bank.

He also emphasized that while the government's measures to cope with the liquidity crisis were "sufficient for us to be able to say we're in control of the situation … we need to monitor the situation in the global markets carefully and react promptly to this," he said, Interfax reported.

Putin's comments came as a flurry of banks and investment companies have announced restructuring plans in the last week, at least in part because of a liquidity squeeze caused by the global financial crisis.

In the two biggest deals, Renaissance Capital agreed on Monday to sell a stake of 50 percent minus one share to billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov for $500 million, and on Tuesday the state-owned Development Bank said it was taking over second-tier Svyaz Bank.