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Jun 26, 2013

Young funds bet big on free-spending seniors

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) – Their birth heralded the longest phase of economic growth in living memory. Now, 65 years on, wealthy “Baby Boomers” are doing the feeble global economy another good turn, according to some fund managers.

Millions of newly-retired Europeans, North Americans and Japanese are breaking open bulging pension pots, spelling big profits for investors who can spot the companies best placed to cater to their spending habits.

Jun 5, 2013

Pages Jaunes shareholders reject Wyser-Pratte board seat

PARIS (Reuters) – Shareholders in French directories company Pages Jaunes (PAJ.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Wednesday resoundingly rejected activist investor Guy Wyser-Pratte’s attempt to get himself and an ally named to its board as independent directors.

Wyser-Pratte, who has been critical of U.S. private equity firm Cerberus’s role at the directories company, received just 16 percent of shareholders’ votes, while his colleague Pierre Nollet got only 5.5 percent.

Jun 4, 2013

Pages Jaunes investor says debt is urgent but no crisis

PARIS, June 4 (Reuters) – French phone directories company
Pages Jaunes’ debts must urgently be cut but are not at
a crisis level, key shareholder Cerberus Capital said a day
before an investor showdown.

Cerberus, which owns 18.5 percent of Pages Jaunes, is
expected to come under fire from activist investor Guy
Wyser-Pratte on Wednesday at its annual shareholder meeting. The
directories company has struggled with an outsized debt burden
since a 2006 private equity buyout.

Jun 4, 2013

Generali sells U.S. unit to Scor in $920 million deal

MILAN/PARIS (Reuters) – Italy’s biggest insurer Generali (GASI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Tuesday that it had agreed to sell its U.S. life reinsurance business to France’s Scor (SCOR.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for total proceeds of $920 million as part of its strategy to shed non-core assets.

The deal, under which Scor is paying 579 million euros ($750 million) in cash plus an additional amount for whatever the unit earns this year before the deal’s expected completion in the second half, will make Scor the largest U.S. life reinsurer.

May 30, 2013

Bain, AXA PE bid for Maisons du Monde -sources

PARIS, May 30 (Reuters) – Bain Capital LLC and AXA Private
Equity are the finalists in the bidding contest for French
furniture-store chain Maisons du Monde, owned by private equity
firms Apax and LBO France, sources familiar with the deal said.

The deal is the latest sign of a spurt of activity in
France’s long-quiet LBO market. Final offers for the company,
valued at up to 700 million euros ($907.69 million) including
debt, are due in early June.

May 29, 2013

Peugeot may need to raise funds as burns cash: sources

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) may have to raise funds through a share sale as the loss-making French carmaker burns through cash in a weak market, two sources familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

Peugeot, which has been running losses of up to 200 million euros ($257 million) a month and does not expect a return to profit until 2015, said a capital hike was not on the agenda, as it started talks with unions about turning around the firm.

May 16, 2013

Rothschild says halfway to 400 mln euro SME debt fund goal

PARIS, May 16 (Reuters) – French boutique investment bank
Rothschild said on Thursday that it had raised 235 million euros
($302.26 million) for a debt fund in a bid to capitalise on its
expertise in advising mid-market European companies.

The fund, to be formally launched this week by Rothschild’s
merchant banking arm, is the latest in a series of investment
vehicles aiming to profit from European banks’ withdrawal from
lending to many small- and medium-sized companies.

May 13, 2013

Activist investor to push for new debt deal at PagesJaunes

PARIS (Reuters) – Activist investor Guy Wyser-Pratte said he is seeking board seats at French phone directories company PagesJaunes (PAJ.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to force its biggest shareholder – U.S. private equity firm Cerberus – to cut the group’s debt.

PagesJaunes has been struggling with big debts since a private equity buyout of the company in 2006. The firm has also had to cope with the impact of the Internet on its printed directories businesses.

May 9, 2013

Credit Agricole’s latest Italy blow may not be last

PARIS, May 9 (Reuters) – Credit Agricole’s part in
a 450 million euro ($592.8 million) capital injection into its
Italian consumer credit arm is a reminder that a retreat from
other parts of southern Europe leaves it with exposure to the
region’s largest economy.

The Agos Ducato unit, which Credit Agricole this week
confirmed is likely to provision for some 1 billion euros in bad
loans this year, is a reminder of the bank’s soured bet on Italy
even after it has exited Greece and cut its exposure to Spain.

May 7, 2013

French banks battle economy with more cost cuts

PARIS, May 7 (Reuters) – French banks Societe Generale
and Credit Agricole vowed on Tuesday to keep
cutting costs after asset sales and lending cutbacks helped to
offset a weak domestic economy in the first quarter.

Banks across Europe are moving to slash spending and cut
jobs in the face of tougher rules about capital levels and the
uneven post-crisis economic recovery.

    • 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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