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Spain's Unicaja, Liberbank aim to agree on merger as soon as next week, sources say

MADRID, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Unicaja and Liberbank aim to agree on the proposed merger to create Spain’s fifth-biggest lender with almost 109 billion euros ($129.5 billion) in assets as soon as next week, three sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

“Negotiations on the financial terms of the proposed deal are at an advanced stage and could be finalised as soon as next week or before the end of the year,” one of the sources said.

Two of the three sources told Reuters that both Liberbank and Unicaja had held regular board meetings on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, but no decision was taken at those meetings.

One of those sources said that from Monday onwards extraordinary board meetings to decide on the terms of the proposed deal could be called “at any moment”.

The second source, who did not rule out the process extending into early 2021, said that some final details were still being negotiated, without elaborating further.

The third source familiar with the matter said that the current state of discussions on the all-share swap ratio pointed to Unicaja getting a stake of around 59% in the combined lender, and Liberbank the rest. The sides would still need to sign off on the final ratio.

Both Unicaja and Liberbank declined to comment. (Reporting by Jesús Aguado, editing by Andrei Khalip)

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