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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

ING Urged To Speed Barings Bid

AMSTERDAM -- Dutch banking and insurance giant Internationale Nederlanden Groep NV (ING) was under pressure Friday to seal a speedy deal to buy failed British investment bank Barings -- but banking sources said it had been given no formal deadline.

ING clinched a deal Thursday to hold exclusive negotiations on buying the collapsed British merchant bank Barings, administrators said.

But ING's exclusive talks with administrators do not stop others preparing counter-offers for the merchant bank, sources said Friday.

The news of the deal followed a day of intense speculation in the banking world, and meant that the administrators had apparently fulfilled their primary goal of selling Barings as a whole.

Analysts were upbeat, saying ING's success in winning first refusal on the 233-year-old merchant bank was due to its interest in the whole company, not just parts of it.

Kleinwort Benson analyst James Alexander said Barings offered ING a bounty of attractive assets, including brokerage operations in Latin America and the Far East, and a top-flight asset management team in emerging markets.

Barings' heavy involvement in Russia would complement ING's own interests in the CIS. ING, which has a network of branches across Eastern Europe, has had a representative in Moscow since 1990, and is the first Western bank to open a representative office in Vladivostok.

Alexander said that even if the Dutch group had to pay off massive debts to capture Barings, it could still be an attractive prospect.

"Barings' book value was around ?500 million, so paying twice that amount could still be not such a bad deal."