Uno-e, First-e Agree Merger Deal

[London, ENGLAND] Uno-e Bank
and First-e Group will
merge to create the UnoFirst Group valued at nearly $1.5 billion,
following a final agreement signed this week.

The companies behind the merger — Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
(BBVA) and Terra Networks for Uno-e, and First-e Group’s owner enba plc —
say they intend to create the “first truly global Internet financial
services provider.”

First-e currently operates in the United Kingdom and Germany, while
Uno-e is based Spain. As First-e Group the combined banks have plans to
expand across Europe, Latin America, the United States and Asia.

“We are pioneering the ‘financial supermarket’ concept and some other
competitors are already following our lead,” noted the new Executive
Chairman of UnoFirst Group Manuel Galatas, formerly chief executive of
Uno-e.

Gerhard Huber, the new chief executive of UnoFirst Group, said
he was convinced that the combination of strengths in banking and
technology created by the merger would be key to providing
customer satisfaction. After all, he said, the Internet is “about
making life easier for consumers.”

Since launching a U.K. operation in November 1999, the component
parts of UnoFirst Group have acquired a customer base of around 100,000
clients and have nearly $350 million of assets under management.

Expansion plans already announced by UnoFirst are a launch in
Latin America in early 2001, with Brazil, Mexico and Argentina
the main targets for growth, and a deal with Overseas Union Bank
in Singapore.

Earlier this year, in May, Terra Networks announced that it
intended to acquire search company Lycos to create a global
Internet portal.

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