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MONETA says tie-up with PPF's Air would benefit Czech bank

PRAGUE, Jan 29 (Reuters) - MONETA Money Bank’s management board said on Friday that an offer from PPF was in line with the Czech bank’s interests and that a tie-up with PPF’s Air Bank could bring tangible benefits.

PPF, owned by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner renewed an attempt to gain majority control of MONETA a week ago, seeking a two-pronged deal similar to one that failed two years ago after haggling over asset valuations.

The country’s richest businessman plans to launch a share offer on Feb. 8 for up to 20% of MONETA shares, with a right to raise that to 29%, at a price of 80 crowns, a 19% premium to when MONETA first released details of the tender.

PPF then wants to sell its smaller Czech lender Air Bank and Czech and Slovak Home Credit units to MONETA in an exchange for MONETA shares from a capital increase.

This part would be subject to shareholder approval.

PPF could gain up to 57% of MONETA, the country’s sixth-largest bank in a market dominated by foreign-owned lenders, if the share offer and swap were both successful.

MONETA’s management board, in its first comments on the offer, said on Friday it would be up to shareholders to decide.

It also said a combination with PPF’s assets had “potential to materially impact Moneta’s business model by bringing tangible benefits” and delivering on MONETA’s strategy. (Reporting by Jason Hovet and Robert Muller; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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