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May 3, 2013

Interview – Colony Capital ups its French bets, sees Hollande shift

PARIS (Reuters) – Colony Capital, the $27 billion (17.4 billion pounds) U.S. investment fund attracting controversy in France over its involvement in Carrefour and Accor, will invest up to 1.5 billion euros in Europe on a bet the business climate will soon improve.

Colony’s chief executive Thomas Barrack said the firm would allocate 1 to 1.5 billion euros investment in France, Italy and Spain over the next eighteen months, aiming to fill a funding gap left by banks which must now comply with new Basel III regulation demanding higher levels of capital.

Apr 29, 2013

Private equity slump hinders France in growth struggle

PARIS/LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) – A collapse of private
equity investment this year seems increasingly emblematic of
France’s deep-seated economic problems and how hard it may prove
to change a vicious cycle of poor growth and weakened companies.

Deals in a sector that is often essential to fuel the
expansion of small and medium-sized businesses have slowed to a
trickle – $437 million in the first quarter of 2013 compared
with a peak of $36 billion in 2006 – and sector players say
there is little prospect of a pickup anytime soon.

Apr 24, 2013

AXA to buy 50 percent of Chinese insurer Tian Ping

PARIS (Reuters) – AXA (AXAF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it agreed to buy 50 percent of Chinese property and casualty insurance company Tian Ping for 485 million euros ($631 million) to strengthen its position in high-growth markets.

AXA, which earlier this month sold a portfolio of old life insurance policies in the United States for $1.1 billion, has been expanding into emerging markets as developed markets remain sluggish in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Apr 16, 2013

Astorg hires Goldman to sell funeral firm OGF: sources

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) – Buyout firm Astorg Partners has hired Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to look for a buyer for France’s leading funeral services firm, OGF, sources familiar with the mandate said.

The auction of the company, which Astorg acquired for an enterprise value of roughly 300 million euros ($393 million) in 2007, is in its early stages and could be complicated by the links between economic growth – at a virtual standstill in France – and willingness to spend on funeral services.

Apr 15, 2013

Rothschild seeks to buy U.S. fund of funds businesss

PARIS (Reuters) – Rothschild is looking to double the size of its fund of hedge funds business via a U.S. acquisition to give it the scale it needs to flourish in an industry now dominated by a handful of big players.

Rothschild made its first push into the business last year when it bought fund of funds company HDF Finance for an undisclosed amount.

Apr 12, 2013

AXA CEO slams French taxes, rules out Euronext stake

PARIS (Reuters) – AXA (AXAF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Henri de Castries said the taxation policies of Socialist President Francois Hollande had endangered the world of French finance and ruled out buying into the Euronext stock exchange.

Sources close to the matter told Reuters last week that the government had approached France’s banks and insurers about forming a consortium to buy at least 34 percent of Euronext, set to be spun off as part of Intercontinental Exchange’s takeover of NYSE Euronext (NYX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Apr 5, 2013

France wants banks to be core Euronext investors – sources

LONDON/PARIS, April 5 (Reuters) – The French government has
approached the country’s banks and insurers about forming a
consortium to buy at least 34 percent of the Euronext stock
exchange, due to be spun off in a public offering, sources close
to the matter said on Friday.

But banks, whose latitude for making such investments have
been reduced by looming capital rules, are resisting the
government’s entreaties, the sources said.

Mar 30, 2013

KKR in talks to buy French clothing brands Sandro, Maje -source

PARIS, March 30 (Reuters) – Private equity firm KKR
has entered into exclusive talks to buy a majority of French
fashion brands Maje, Sandro and Claudie Pierlot, according to a
source familiar with the transaction.

The acquisition of the brands, partially owned by LVMH
Chief Executive Bernard Arnault, would give them an
enterprise value of 650 million euros, the source said.

Mar 26, 2013

Credit Agricole shows challenges for mid-tier investment bank players

PARIS, March 26 (Reuters) – Europe’s mid-tier banks, having
already shrunk their investment banking activities, may face
increasing pressure to scale back in areas like proprietary
trading and M&A advisory as costly regulation and weak demand
eat into earnings.

From Credit Agricole in Paris to Commerzbank
in Frankfurt, many European banks have fallen further
behind Wall Street institutions such as Goldman Sachs and
JP Morgan in industry rankings as they cut most types of
lending and scale back risky trading bets.

Feb 21, 2013

Allianz, AXA dividends help allay sector worries

PARIS/MUNICH, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Europe’s top two insurers
at least maintained their dividends for the past year, helping
allay concerns that insurer payouts were being threatened by a
malign combination of low bond yields and tighter regulatory

Germany’s Allianz kept its payout steady at 4.5
euros per share, while French rival AXA raised its
shareholder reward 4 percent to 0.72 cents, easing fears about
the sustainability of insurance sector payouts highlighted by a
surprise cut on Wednesday from Britain’s Royal & Sun Alliance

    • 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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