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UPDATE 2-MONETA shares jump after PPF seeks to wrest control

(Adds analyst comment, detail)

PRAGUE, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Shares in MONETA Money Bank rose more than 11% on Monday after Czech billionaire Petr Kellner’s PPF group renewed an attempt to gain majority control through an offer similar to a plan that failed two years ago.

PPF is seeking to control the Czech Republic’s sixth-largest bank through a tender offered at a 19% premium to Friday’s closing share price, and a tie-up with its Czech financial businesses.

Some shareholders and analysts said the offer was disadvantageous to MONETA as PPF’s assets looked expensive.

“Nevertheless, if the voluntary tender offer is successful, it will be very difficult for other shareholders to prevent this transaction,” analysts at J&T Banka said.

MONETA, owned in a 100% free float, forecasts its net profit dropped 40% to 2.4 billion crowns ($111.85 million) in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Late on Friday, it said it had received a voluntary offer from PPF for 20% of shares, with a right to increase that to 29%, at 80 crowns per share. The offer could launch Feb. 8.

MONETA shares had risen 11.5% to 74.80 crowns by midday.

PPF also wants to sell its smaller Czech lender Air Bank and Czech and Slovak Home Credit units to MONETA in a share swap. In total, PPF could gain up to 57.2% of MONETA.

Komercni Banka said the deal valued PPF’s assets at 22.6 billion crowns ($1.05 billion), higher than a previous attempt at a deal, valued at 19.8 billion crowns, which fizzled in 2019 after MONETA sought lower valuations.

“This is the second time a transaction without merit is being dreamed up between Moneta’s CEO... and PPF owner Petr Kellner and we are disturbed by being presented with more of the same, an already failed proposition from 2018 in new clothes,” said Petrus Advisers, which holds a 2%-3% stake in MONETA.

Kellner, the richest Czech businessman, has a net worth of $19.6 billion estimated by Forbes.

PPF owns assets worth 44 billion euros ($53.5 billion) in financing, telecommunications, media, engineering and real estate in China, Europe, Russia and across Asia. It owns Prague-listed mobile operator O2 Czech Republic and Central European Media Enterprises. ($1 = 21.4580 Czech crowns) ($1 = 0.8230 euros) (Reporting by Jason Hovet, editing by Louise Heavens, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Barbara Lewis)

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