Sweden's Nordbanken, said it plans to buy Norway's Christiania Bank ASA for $3.1 billion and create the region's largest bank. The resulting bank would have $128 billion of assets, seven million private customers, and 470,000 corporate clients.

MeritaNordbanken offered $5.57 per share in cash for Norway's second-largest bank, 29% more than Friday's closing price. "It's good to get that part of Scandinavia covered," said Ari Lampinen, an analyst at Opstock Securities in Helsinki. "The price is good, considering there are synergies to back it up."

Christiania shares jumped $1.18, or 27%, to $5.49, just below the offer price. Like other Nordic banks, MeritaNordbanken is expanding in nearby countries to sell more of its financial products. It aims to extract more profit from Christiania by cutting costs. -- Bloomberg News

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