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Feb 28, 2012

GM in talks to buy small Peugeot stake -sources

PARIS/FRANKFURT/NEW YORK, Feb 27 (Reuters) – General Motors
Co is in advanced discussions to buy a small stake in
French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen as part of their
proposed strategic alliance in Europe and elsewhere, sources
familiar with the situation said on Monday.

Under the terms being discussed, GM would likely buy a stake
of less than 5 percent in Peugeot, the sources said.

Feb 23, 2012

Natixis says to reduce commodities market business

PARIS/LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – French investment
bank Natixis plans to “significantly reduce” its
commodities market activities, its chief executive said on
Monday, as it scales back exposure to less profitable
activities.

Natixis said in January in an internal presentation that it
had received and was studying expressions of interest for its
commodities unit, and the comments by Chief Executive Laurent
Mignon are a sign that it may still be in play.

Feb 22, 2012

French wealthy eye escape exit as tax burden rises

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s wealthy are looking at joining the ranks of celebrities in tax exile including rocker Johnny Hallyday, model Laetitia Casta and restaurateur Alain Ducasse, fearing that Socialist Francois Hollande will soak the rich if he wins the presidency.

Advisers to the millionaires report a rise in inquiries from those considering an exit to Switzerland or Monaco – or even Belgium and Britain – before presidential elections this spring.

Feb 10, 2012

Dexia takes 1 bln euro loss on Dexma sale

PARIS, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Bailed out bank Dexia
will sell control of its French municipal finance arm
to the French government and state banks for 380 million euros
($501 million) as part of a deal aimed at restoring the flow of
credit to the country’s towns and cities.

But Dexia said the sale will result in a 1 billion euro
loss, in the latest blow for the bank which France, Belgium and
Luxembourg were forced to rescue last October. The agreement,
which Dexia said would cut its liquidity requirement by 12
billion euros, is the latest step in the group’s dismantlement.

Jan 10, 2012

SocGen investment bank cuts signal more pain ahead

PARIS, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Societe Generale’s
freshly overhauled management team is promising more pain for
its investment bank unit this year, sounding a deeply
pessimistic note likely to be echoed by rivals in France and
elsewhere in Europe.

The news that France’s second-biggest lender is eyeing a
“significant” fall in investment banking revenue for 2012 and
has decided to exit or deeply cut several businesses is the
latest dollop of pain for investment banks worldwide after
businesses such as debt and equity capital markets were hammered
last year.

Jan 4, 2012

SocGen mulls 880 investment bank job cuts

PARIS, Jan 4 (Reuters) – Societe Generale
plans to cut some 880 jobs at the French unit of its investment
bank as part of a “voluntary departure plan,” it said on
Wednesday, as it and rivals struggle through a liquidity crisis.

The layoffs represent roughly 7.3 percent of the payroll of
SocGen’s investment bank, which has been forced to scale back
its global ambitions as the euro zone’s troubles worsened.

Dec 29, 2011

Qatar ups Lagardere stake, becomes top investor

PARIS, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Qatar Holding has raised its
stake in Lagardere to over 10 percent, making the Gulf
state the largest shareholder in the struggling French
media-to-aerospace conglomerate.

The oil-rich emirate has been a staunch supporter of Chief
Executive Arnaud Lagardere even as some shareholders have
assailed the chief executive’s strategy for the company his
father founded, which competes with Pearson Plc and
Bertelsmann AG in radio and book publishing.

Dec 24, 2011

France Telecom sells Swiss unit to Apax for 1.6 bln euros

PARIS, Dec 24 (Reuters) – France Telecom will
sell its mobile phone operator Orange Switzerland to private
equity group Apax Partners for about 1.6 billion euros ($2.09
billion), as Europe’s fourth-largest telecoms operator refocuses
on its core markets.

The deal is a glimmer of hope in what has otherwise been a
drought in European private equity deals as the region’s
sovereign debt crisis has driven up the cost of borrowing money
for such transactions.

Dec 16, 2011

Credit Agricole agrees sale of private equity unit

PARIS, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Credit Agricole SA
agreed to sell its private equity unit for just over 300 million
euros ($389.92 million), a banking source close to the deal
said, in a sign that buyers exist for the plethora of assets
European banks have put on the block — at the right price.

The sale to Coller Capital, a UK-based firm which
specialises in buying secondary private equity assets, will
reduce the risk-weighted assets of Credit Agricole by 900
million euros, the French bank said in a statement on Friday.

Dec 13, 2011

Analysis: French state bank CDC in stealth bailout overdrive

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – French state bank Caisse des Depots et Consignations risks stretching its balance sheet and depriving its core local client base if it continues a recent spending spree acting as a knight in shining armor for distressed big businesses.

CDC has been hyperactive in an otherwise moribund dealmaking scene, helping craft and contributing heavily to the bailout of Franco Belgian lender Dexia.

    • About Christian

      "New York-based editor in charge of banks, exchanges, insurers, asset managers and hedge funds coverage as well as separate team that reports on mergers and acquisitions. Previously led aerospace and defense team, also in New York. Was initially hired by Reuters in Milan, where I covered banks and insurers. Before that I was at Bloomberg for 8 years, including a 3 year stint in Sao Paulo."
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