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By Roberto Bottiglia, Elisabetta Gualandri MA, Gian Nereo Mazzocco (eds.)

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It is no coincidence that large banking sector M&A operations often meet with widespread resistance from specific categories of investors or shareholders, who fear that the operation will be damaging to their interests. This attitude is also reflected by the markets’ generally negative response to announcements of large M&A operations in the sector, although there have been significant exceptions. In cases where the consolidation generates considerable diversification of the bank’s business (cross-sector M&As), additional obstacles tend to arise.

Ayadi–Pujals (2005) The study makes a separate analysis of cross-border and domestic merger operations to measure their profitability and efficiency. Domestic mergers generate a significant cost cutting effect for both banks involved. In both kinds of operations, profitability arises mainly from revenue diversification. Ayala (2005) The study aims to combine several aspects linked to the success of a bank merger: synergies; potential combinations; organisational integration; employees’ resistance; similarities in management style.

This form of nationalistic interference comes in many shapes and forms, sometimes blatant and sometimes subtle and intangible, but no less incisive; it has also been strongly reinforced by the financial crisis and the large transfusions of public funds into banks’ capital. This combination of factors becomes even more decisive in the case of M&A operations with both cross-sector and cross-border connotations, which almost always involve particularly large players. The influence of these obstacles is reflected in various ways: in Europe, the general failure of the largest operations aimed at the creation of huge banking-insurance 10 Consolidation in the European Financial Industry conglomerates; in the USA, the small number of M&A operations of this kind, except for the integration between commercial and investment banking (itself under observation after the crisis); in both systems, the recent trend towards the ‘separation’ of large business sectors from the banking model as such, as in the case of asset management operations.

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