and Argentaria SA, the third-largest, rose slightly Wednesday in reaction to an announcement that they planned to merge

BBV said Tuesday that it would buy Argentaria for about $11.3 billion in stock. The new company's assets, $244 billion, would make it Spain's second-largest bank by that measure, after Banco Santander Central Hispano SA. By market capitalization -- $41 billion -- the new company would be Spain's largest bank, and the world's 14th largest.

Officials of the two banks said they intend to use the merger to build a stronger base in Spain and keep expanding in Portugal and Latin America. BBV has built an extensive banking network in Latin America over the last several years and has also acquired a 10% stake in Italy's Banca Nazionale del Lavoro.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.