The European Commission (EC) has approved Italy-based investment banking company UniCredit’s previously announced acquisition of Alpha Bank Romania, the Romanian subsidiary of Alpha Bank.

Cleared under the EU Merger Regulation, the transaction primarily pertains to a range of banking and financial services in Romania, including retail and corporate banking, financial market services and other financial services.

According to the Commission, UniCredit’s acquisition of Alpha Bank Romania will not bring competition concerns as the companies’ limited market positions resulting from the transaction.

The EC also said that the deal was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Announced in October last year, the merger of UniCredit’s and Alpha Bank’s Romanian subsidiaries is expected to create the third largest bank in Romania with a combined 12% market share by total assets.

UniCredit also aims to bolster its presence in a key growth market through the deal.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Alpha Bank will retain 9.9% of the share capital of the combined entity post transaction in addition to a cash consideration of €300m.

Following the completion of the deal, customers of Alpha Bank Romania are expected to gain access to an enlarged range of services and products.

UniCredit and Alpha Bank also aim to ensure continuity and quality of service to their clients throughout the period of transition.

In March this year, UniCredit was fined by Italy’s data protection authority (DPA) over a 2018 data breach case that affected more than 750,000 customers.

The cyber-attack on the bank’s mobile banking platform in 2018 resulted in the illicit acquisition of names, tax codes, and other identification codes for customers and former customers.