LONDON -- The European Commission's review of the proposed merger of BankAmerica Corp. and Security Pacific Corp. is not likely to impede the deal, bankers predicted.
The regulator has one month to approve the deal or open a full inquiry if it thinks the merger of the banks' operations in Europe could diminish competition, a commission official said.
The inquiry was automatically triggered under the European Community's antitrust laws. These rules require checks when two merging corporations, even when based outside the community but with European operations, have combined annual revenues of at least $6 billion.
Extended Study Doubted
As the two banks have most of their assets in the United States and operate in Europe mainly in cross-border investment banking and corporate finance, European bankers suggested that a full inquiry would be unlikely.
Of 50 corporate combinations of all types studied by the community's authorities in the last year, only five have gone on to a full investigation, the official said.
"The announcement of our review of the two banks doesn't mean we're prejudging the issue," the official said.
Fed's Authority Is Similar
In the United States, the Federal Reserve Board has similar powers to monitor foreign banking mergers where U.S. operations are involved.
The Fed monitored and subsequently cleared the merger earlier this year between two major Dutch banks, Amsterdam-Rotterdam Bank and Algemene Bank Nederland.
In San Frnacisco, a Bank of America spokeswoman said that the European filing represents one of many domestic and foreign filings that will be made in connection with the merger.
"Obviously we cannot comment on each of them as the merger progresses," the spokeswoman said.
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