October 25, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Davis Polk & Ward…

October 25, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Davis Polk & Wardwell is advising Banco Santander Central Hispano, S.A. on its acquisition of a 19.8-percent stake in Sovereign Bancorp, Inc. Santander is the largest bank in Spain and the fifth-largest bank in the world. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sovereign is the 18th-largest bank in the United States.

According to the terms of the agreement, Santander will initially acquire 19.9 percent of Sovereign for approximately $2.4 billion and will have the right to increase its ownership to up to 24.99 percent at any time after closing. Simultaneous with the closing of Santander’s investment, Sovereign will acquire Independence Community Bank Corp., a Brooklyn, New York-based thrift bank. After 2 years, Santander may acquire 100 percent of Sovereign’s capital after a process involving negotiations with the board of Sovereign.

The Davis Polk corporate team includes partner Diane G. Kerr and associates Jonas Marson, Idan Lidor and Caroline R. Adams, all of the New York office, and partner Joseph Rinaldi and associate Aly El Hamamsy, both of the Paris office. Counsel Arthur S. Long and associate Cristina V. Regojo, both of the New York office, are providing financial institutions advice. Partner Edmond T. FitzGerald and associate Christian Hoefs, both of the New York office, are providing employment advice. Partner Michael Mollerus and associate Grace M. Lee, both of the New York office, are providing tax advice. Partner Gail A. Flesher and associate Judy A. Melillo, both of the New York office, are providing environmental advice. Samuel Lines of the New York office is the legal assistant for the transaction.

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