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Jul 10, 2013

France looks to insurers to fill lending gap left by banks

PARIS, July 10 (Reuters) – France has launched a
double-pronged effort to harness insurers’ deep pockets to boost
lending to underfunded small- and mid-sized companies (SMEs),
seeking to ease their longtime reliance on bank funding.

The initiatives echo efforts elsewhere in Europe to bolster
funding for SMEs, where a lack of capital is seen as a drag on
economic recovery. In Britain the government has tried various
initiatives including its flagship Funding for Lending
programme, with mixed results.

Jul 9, 2013

Morocco wants Maroc Telecom buyer to take local partner-sources

PARIS/LONDON, July 9 (Reuters) – Morocco wants Gulf telecom
operator Etisalat to take on a local partner as a
condition of backing its bid to buy Vivendi’s 53
percent stake in Maroc Telecom, said three sources
familiar with the matter.

The Moroccan state owns 30 percent of the kingdom’s biggest
mobile and fixed communications provider and so must approve
Vivendi’s choice of buyer.

Jul 1, 2013

French funeral operator OGF gets takeover bids: sources

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) – Three private equity firms have submitted bids to acquire France’s leading funeral services firm OGF, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Lion Capital, TDR Capital and Pamplona Capital Management have all made it through to the second round of bidding for the funeral operator owned by buyout firm Astorg Partners. CVC has also been cited as a potential bidder on the deal, which is being managed by Goldman Sachs, bankers said.

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.

    • 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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