State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, is exploring a wide range of rescue options for struggling Yes Bank Ltd including a complete buyout of its private-sector rival, two sources familiar with the matter said. The sources, who asked not to be named as the discussions are private, said other options being considered include getting a consortium together to pool funds to bail out the lender.
One of the sources, who was present at SBI’s board meeting on Thursday, said one of the proposals included the state-run lender buying out the troubled lender and delisting it from the stock exchange.
SBI officials were not immediately available for comment.
In a regulatory filing after the meeting, SBI said its board had given it an in-principle nod to explore an investment in Yes Bank, an about-turn for SBI which had in December repeatedly denied it would play any role in aiding its competitor.
The move came as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) placed Yes Bank under a moratorium late on Thursday, said it was taking control of it for 30 days and would swiftly work on a revival plan.
RBI also named Prashant Kumar, SBI’s former chief financial officer, as Yes Bank’s administrator.
A source familiar with the matter said Kumar had to tender his resignation hours before the announcement, so that he could take on the new role.
The RBI’s shock move underscored the level of deterioration in the financial position of the lender, and the extent of the Indian government’s concern about contagion in the banking system if India’s fifth-largest private lender had collapsed.
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