DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank said Sunday it will purchase rival lender Samba Financial Group in a deal valued at $14.8 billion, creating what would become the kingdom’s largest bank.

The bank will control some $223 billion in assets and a market capitalization of $46 billion after the merger wins regulatory approvals and is completed, National Commercial Bank said in a filing on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock market announcing the deal.

The new bank will control a quarter of all banking in the kingdom, it said.

NCB will pay Samba a premium of 3.5% on the closing price of its stock Thursday in the deal, which will see it dissolve into the NCB brand.


The bank’s largest shareholders will be Saudi Arabia’s Private Investment Fund, the Public Pension Agency and the General Organization for Social Insurance, all government entities.

The two banks described the merger as fitting into the kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan, the brainchild of Saudi Arabia’s assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. That plan calls for Saudi Arabia to ween itself off of relying on oil exports while creating new jobs for its millions of young people.

“Saudi Arabia is undergoing a historic transformation with Vision 2030,” NCB chairman Saeed al-Ghamdi said in a statement. “Our ambition is to create a national champion that can facilitate the transformation envisaged under Vision 2030 and create a pioneer for next-generation banking services that nurtures tomorrow’s industry leaders.”

NCB was Saudi Arabia’s first bank to be officially licensed in the kingdom back in 1953, created out of two currency trading houses. Samba grew out of Citibank, which established a presence in the oil-rich kingdom in 1955. The bank became Saudi American Bank following a royal decree in 1980, with Citibank slowly divesting over time until selling

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank said Sunday it will purchase rival lender Samba Financial Group in a deal valued at $14.8 billion, creating what would become the kingdom’s largest bank.

The bank will control some $223 billion in assets and a market capitalization of $46 billion after the merger wins regulatory approvals and is completed, National Commercial Bank said in a filing on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock market announcing the deal.

The new bank will control a quarter of all banking in the kingdom, it said.

NCB will pay Samba a premium of 3.5% on the closing price of its stock Thursday in the deal, which will see it dissolve into the NCB brand.

The bank’s largest shareholders will be Saudi Arabia’s Private Investment Fund, the Public Pension Agency and the General Organization for Social Insurance, all government entities.

The two banks described the merger as fitting into the kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan, the brainchild of Saudi Arabia’s assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. That plan calls for Saudi Arabia to ween itself off of relying on oil exports while creating new jobs for its millions of young people.

“Saudi Arabia is undergoing a historic transformation with Vision 2030,” NCB chairman Saeed al-Ghamdi said in a statement. “Our ambition is to create a national champion that can facilitate the transformation envisaged under Vision 2030 and create a pioneer for next-generation banking services that nurtures tomorrow’s industry leaders.”

NCB was Saudi Arabia’s first bank to be officially licensed in the kingdom back in 1953, created out of two currency trading houses. Samba grew out of Citibank, which established a presence in the oil-rich kingdom in 1955. The bank became Saudi American Bank following a royal decree in 1980, with Citibank slowly divesting over time until selling

Construction of Nord Stream's EUGAL Pipeline Compressor Site

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Germany won’t need additional gas flows this season, giving Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin another reason to bide their time on the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

After two warm winters and the coronavirus pandemic, demand for the fuel used for heat and power generation is sagging across the continent. Supplies remain abundant, with U.S. cargoes of liquefied natural gas returning to Europe. Benchmark gas prices remain below their 10-year average at the start of the period for peak consumption.

Those metrics may inform how Putin and Merkel respond to Poland’s decision last week to slap a record $7.6 billion fine on the pipeline’s sponsor, Gazprom PJSC. Berlin was silent on the matter, and Russia said only that Poland aligned itself with the U.S. on the issue. For now, there’s no reason to rush ahead with the long-delayed 1,230-kilometer link under the Baltic Sea.

“There is no urgency now for Nord Stream 2 as the existing pipelines and LNG should provide enough gas for the months to come,” said Richard Morningstar, founding chairman of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and a former U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Who’s Dependent on Russia’s Gas?

Fourteen countries get more than 50% of their gas from Russia

Source: Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators, 2017 data

Nord Stream 2 will run parallel to an existing pipeline by the same name and will double capacity of the route from Russia under the Baltic Sea into Germany. Merkel allowed it to go ahead as a commercial project that would shore up fuel supplies to heavy industry including BASF AG. Russia and Gazprom started promoting the link in 2012, saying additional flows will be needed needed by the mid-2020s.

The U.S. has opposed the pipeline

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Homeless moms who were evicted earlier this year from a vacant San Francisco Bay Area house they occupied say a community land trust has purchased the property and will turn it into transitional housing for other mothers experiencing homelessness.

Members of the activist group, Moms 4 Housing, announced Friday that the three-bedroom home in West Oakland was purchased by the Oakland Community Land Trust from a real estate investment company. The property requires extensive renovation for habitation, the group said.

The land trust purchased the property for $587,500 and closed in May, but the pandemic and planning for repairs delayed a public celebration . The land trust is a nonprofit organization that holds property for the benefit of low-income residents.

Steve King, executive director of the trust, says the house requires extensive repairs, including a new roof and windows. He said his group will work with Moms 4 Housing to figure out a transitional housing program for the property. Money to buy and refurbish the house came from donations and does not include city money, he said.


“We’re excited to be part of it and definitely excited to get the rehab started and finished so the house can be used,” he said.

The group caused a national sensation last year when the moms and their children moved into the empty house in November, partly to protest the methods of speculators who they claim snap up distressed homes and leave them empty despite California’s severe housing shortage and growing numbers of homeless people. They said mothers and children should not be homeless when housing is available.

They were evicted at dawn in January, surrounded by supporters on watch. Video showed one deputy slamming a battering ram against the house’s front door.

The group received widespread support, including

BAY CITY, MI – Bay City’s South End is one step closer to becoming the new home of a state-of-the-art marijuana growing facility that promises to bring about 100 jobs to the area.

On Monday, Oct. 5, the Bay City Commission approved an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption Certificate application for Shango Park Bay City Inc. to allow the company to rehabilitate a vacant 24,800-square-foot building located at 1601 Garfield. The approved IFT is for the total amount of $7 million for 12 years.

Shango’s proposed plan involves turning the empty building and its 5-acre property into a mixed-use facility for marijuana cultivation, processing and storage, with the possibility for corporate offices. The existing structure will primarily be used for cultivation and offices while additions are planned to include a bakery and extraction lab.

Construction is slated to start in Fall of 2020, with the first phase of construction estimated to be wrapped up in Spring 2021.

Shango’s website refers to itself as a leading medical and recreational medical dispensary license holder, grower and manufacturer in multiple states across the country. Shango currently has facilities and sells products in Oregon, Nevada and Washington, with the plan to strengthen Michigan as a new player in its roster. Shango currently has a medical marijuana provisioning center in Lapeer but the company has larger plans for the Bay City location.

Matt Kowalski of Warren-based Shango was in attendance at Monday’s meeting to clarify details for commissioners about the tax abatement and plans for the property.

In exchange for the tax exemption, Shango plans to revamp the property and add approximately 100 new jobs of varying skill level.

“We’ll have jobs anywhere from janitorial staff all the way up to PhD’s,” said Kowalski.

In addition, Kowalski stated that the company is planning a provisioning center