US equity firm closes in on purchase of Portuguese bank

LISBON, Portugal — Portugal's central bank says it has picked U.S. private equity firm Lone Star for exclusive final negotiations on its bid to buy Novo Banco, the so-called good bank salvaged by the Portuguese government from the collapse of major lender Banco Espirito Santo.

The Bank of Portugal said Monday the negotiations aimed to finalize the terms of a sale to Lone Star.

The one-sentence statement did not give any details about a time-frame for a decision or a possible sale price, nor did it identify other bidders. The negotiations have been conducted in secret.

Novo Banco received 3.9 billion euros (currently $4.14 billion) from the Portuguese Treasury after Banco Espirito Santo went bankrupt in 2014. The government, endeavoring to reduce Portugal's massive debt load, wants that money back.

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