Israel's Leumi to complete sale of credit card unit February 26

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected in the windows of a branch of Bank Leumi, Israel’s second-largest lender, in Tel Aviv, Israel May 30, 2013. REUTERS/Nir Elias

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s Bank Leumi said on Sunday it would complete the sale of its credit card unit to U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus on Feb. 26.

Leumi, which owns 80 percent of Leumi Card, and property developer Azrieli Group, which holds 20 percent, announced in July they had agreed to sell the business to the Warburg Pincus for 2.5 billion shekels ($691 million), subject to regulatory approval, receipt of which had held up the deal by a number of weeks.

Since the conditions for the sale have been met, the bank said in a statement on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that the sides agreed to complete the transaction on Feb. 26.

Israeli regulators, in a bid to increase competition, have instructed the country’s top two banks, Leumi and Hapoalim, to sell off their credit card companies by early 2020.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Tova Cohen

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