By Hadeel Al Sayegh
NCB, the kingdom's biggest lender by assets, and Riyad Bank said in December they had begun preliminary talks to potentially create a combination with $183 billion in assets. Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, and the government are major shareholders in both banks.
Goldman also advised Saudi British Bank, which in October signed a deal to merge with rival Alawwal Bank to create Saudi Arabia's third-biggest lender with a market capitalisation of about $17.2 billion.
NCB is also considering proposals after more than half a dozen banks including HSBC and Citigroup pitched for an advisory role last week, sources familiar with the matter said. The banks were not immediately available for comment.
Two of the biggest banks in the United Arab Emirates, where regulatory pressure is also mounting on smaller banks in particular, linked up to create First Abu Dhabi Bank in 2017.
(Additional reporting by Tom Arnold and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Alexander Smith)
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