The Brazilian central bank has said it now plans to auction Banespa, São Paulo state bank, on July 18. The privatization of the country’s fifth largest bank by assets is expected to attract fierce bidding from local and international banks. The sale could radically alter the country’s banking system, since the winner would take control of an extensive branch network that covers all of São Paulo. The government was forced to delay the privatization twice after opposition groups twice won court injunctions blocking the auction. The Banespa data room opened to bidders in mid-May and closes on July 14.