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Santander Sells Interbanca to GE in Asset Swap

Spain's Santander said on Thursday it was selling Italian corporate banking arm Interbanca to General Electric in exchange for consumer finance units in a deal worth 1 billion euros ($1.7 billion).

In a statement, Santander said it would acquire GE Money's units in Germany, Finland and Austria as well as its card and auto-financing businesses in Britain.

Santander, which has been trying to build up its presence in the highly profitable consumer finance business, said the GE units had total assets of 9 billion euros.

Santander picked up Interbanca in a three-way break-up bid for ABN AMRO last year.

In November, the Spanish bank agreed to sell the other Italian asset it bought from ABN AMRO, Antonveneta, to Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena and said it would also divest Interbanca at the right price.

At that time, the corporate bank was valued at about 800 million to 1.1 billion euros.