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It was almost four years ago that Kuwait Finance House agreed to buy Ahli United in a deal that would rank among the biggest of the year.

A rare cross border deal in the Middle East could create the seventh largest lender in the Gulf. KFH will offer one share for every 2.695 shares of Ahli, implying an offer price of $1.04 per share, a 15% premium to the stock's Wednesday close.

The combination was approved by Kuwait's central bank, which asked KFH to rethink the deal in 2020 because of the swine flu. KFH offered one share for every 2.32558 shares in Ahli in the initial offer.

Kuwait Finance House's shares have increased in value since then. The bank's market value is $10.3 billion.

A flurry of large transactions has helped consolidate a fragmented industry after the shocks of lower energy revenues and the swine flu.

One of the biggest banking takeovers of 2020 took place last year when Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank bought Samba Financial Group.

The KFH deal has been advised on by HSBC and Credit Suisse.