Premature release: JG Summit to own 6% of BPI with Ayalas’ merger with Robinsons Bank, according to Gokongwei-owned website

Bank of the Philippine Islands chaired by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said it was in talks for a merger with Robinsons Bank led by Lance Gokongwei.

“Please be informed that we are in discussions on a potential collaboration between BPI and RBank. Further disclosures will be made at the appropriate time,” BPI said in a statement to media.

Both BPI and JG Summit (RBank’s parent) did not issue a disclosure on their plan to join forces.

Curiously, details of the merger was reported by a Gokongwei-owned website, Spot.ph, which stated that the RBank board would approve the marriage the next day, September 30.

Based on the Spot.ph report, which has since been deleted, RBank would take a six percent stake in BPI after the merger.

“For retail customers of Robinsons Bank, the merger with BPI would mean access to free cash transfers to GCash instead of sending with a fee via InstaPay. Withdrawing money will be more accessible as BPI has some 2,500 ATMs, compared to RBank’s 354,” Spot.ph said.

The report even had a lengthy quote from RBank president and CEO, Elfren Antonio S. Sarte: “This is a good opportunity to augment RBC’s captured niche markets and consolidate that with the BPI ecosystem. This merger is a testament to the mutual respect and excellent business relationship between the Gokongwei group and Ayala group. We will work with BPI to ensure a smooth transition and integration of our clients and operations into BPI. Together, we will maintain quality banking services and offer additional top-notch and innovative products to all RBC customers.”