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PNC Nears $11 Billion Deal to Buy U.S. Operations of Spanish Bank BBVA


PNC Financial Services is in talks to acquire the U.S. business of the Spanish lender BBVA for more than $11 billion, a person briefed on the matter said.

The sale, which could be announced as soon as Monday, would be one of the biggest banking deals since the 2008 financial crisis. It would create the nation’s fifth-largest retail bank, with more than $550 billion of assets, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were confidential. The person cautioned that the deal was not yet complete and that it might still fall apart.

For PNC, it would be the latest in a string of acquisitions it has used to grow its national footprint. It expanded its foothold in the Southeast with its $3.45 billion acquisition of Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. retail banking in 2011, and bought National City bank, based in Cleveland, in 2008. With its acquisition of BBVA’s business, PNC would expand into Arizona, California, Colorado New Mexico and Texas.

PNC, which is based in Pittsburgh and has a market capitalization of about $50 billion, serves about eight million consumers and small businesses. It has branches and A.T.M.s across the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest and the Southeast.

Its sale this year of its stake in BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, for about $17 billion freed up more cash to do yet another deal. PNC’s chief executive, William S. Demchak, has made clear that he would use that capital to buy regional banks struggling to compete against larger rivals that have money to pour into technology and investment.

“We know tech expense has to go up,” Mr. Demchak said in September. “And we know credit costs are going to be elevated. And whether they put somebody at risk or not, what all of that suggests is that a bank that doesn’t have fee-based products built today is really going to struggle.”

That, he added, “gives us a lot of opportunity to deploy this capital.”

The deal follows a spate of consolidation within the financial services industry. First Citizens BancShares said in October that it planned to buy CIT Group for about $2.2 billion, while BB&T and SunTrust announced plans to combine last year in a deal that valued the new lender at $66 billion.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the talks on Sunday.

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