International Bank of Qatar (IBQ) has offered to buy Ahli United Bank in a deal worth up to $6.1 billion, it has been reported.
According to a unnamed source cited by Arabianbusiness.com, IBQ would pay between $2.05 and $2.25 in cash, with the rest made up of shares, for a 55 per cent stake in Bahrain's largest lender by market value.
The source, said to be a shareholder in Tamdeen Investment of Kuwait, also claimed that Tamdeen had provisionally agreed to sell its 13 per cent stake in the Bahrain bank for $2.25 per share.
A spokesman for IBQ questioned by the news provider has dismissed reports of the deal.
However, speculation about its veracity has been fuelled by National Bank of Kuwait, which owns a 20 per cent stake in IBQ, having previously expressed plans to expand its overseas interests with a view to limiting the effect of increasing competition in its domestic market.