(Bloomberg) -- Addiko Bank is becoming one of the hottest acquisition targets in southeastern Europe after Slovenian regional heavyweight Nova Ljubljanska banka d.d. joined two Serbian lenders already jostling for stakes in the Balkans consumer-loan specialist.

NLB is proposing €20 per share for Vienna-listed Addiko with the aim of taking a majority stake in the bank, the lender said in a regulatory statement late Wednesday. The offer values the company at about €390 million ($422 million). 

The counter-bid represents a 23.2% premium to the €16.24 offered by Serbian businessman Miodrag Kostic’s Agri Europe Cyprus Ltd., which was formally published on Thursday after an initial announcement in March. The group wants to raise its stake to about 27% from 10%.

In an emailed comment on NLB’s bid sent to Bloomberg, Agri Europe said it “remains committed to its goals,” without elaborating on any future moves regarding its own bid. 

Addiko gained 4.2% on Thursday in Vienna, closing at €19.85, up 15.7% this week.

Separately, Alta Pay, controlled by Serbian investor Davor Macura, has bought a 9.6% stake in the lender, as well as options to increase ownership by an additional 20%. Alta Pay’s transactions are subject to approval by Austria’s financial regulator.

Addiko is the lender founded as the good bank of Austria’s failed Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank, and has a dual profile of providing consumer loans across the Balkans and operating a retail bank in Austria. It recently announced plans to start a digital bank in Romania.

The bidding war comes as several shareholders sought to exit investments in Addiko made when private equity firm Advent International sold the bank, including via an initial public offering.

Swiss-based DDM Holding and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are among Addiko’s largest shareholders.

All bidders have been looking to expand their market share in the Balkans. NLB, Slovenia’s largest lender, plans to double its assets by 2030 to more than €50 billion following acquisitions at home and in Serbia in recent years.

Agri Europe owns AIK Banka and Eurobank Direktna in Serbia, and Gorenjska Banka in Slovenia. Alta Pay expanded into banking in 2019 after building a payment-service network in Serbia and Montenegro.

(Updates with Agri Europe’s comment in fourth paragraph, Addiko share price in fifth.)

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