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Sep 7, 2012

Arnault spooks Hermes into long arms of the law

PARIS (Reuters) – Calling in the law is an unorthodox takeover defence, and it shows just how much luxury goods maker Hermes (HRMS.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) fears Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man, and his reputation for exploiting internal dissent to get what he wants.

Hermes, a highly profitable maker of 10,000-euro handbags women wait months for, had already formed a laager of family shareholders to keep Arnault and his LVMH luxury goods group at bay, and on Tuesday called in the cavalry, asking prosecutors to investigate him for insider trading and share manipulation.

Jul 26, 2012

Barclays bids to swap Doux loan for controlling stake

PARIS, July 26 (Reuters) – Barclays is proposing to
swap a 140 million-euro ($169.73 million) loan to troubled
French poultry group Doux for an 80 percent stake, though the
bank wants to sell off parts of its holding to potential
partners, a source close to the transaction said on Thursday.

Family-owned Doux’s struggles – it is operating under court
administration – have emerged as a headache both for Barclays as
its main bank creditor and for the French government, which is
grappling with job cuts in various industries.

Jul 25, 2012

European bank profits to fall, Libor dims outlook

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – Europe’s banks are expected to post sharp profit falls in second quarter results as they count the cost of the debt crisis and try to anticipate the impact of the Libor interest-rate rigging scandal on the industry.

The European economy is heading towards recession, making companies nervous about issuing stocks and bonds. Trading has slowed and this has hurt investment banking, typically the most lucrative part of a bank’s business.

Jul 24, 2012

Faurecia cuts earnings view on European auto slump

PARIS, July 24 (Reuters) – Faurecia, Europe’s
biggest maker of car interiors and exhausts, warned its
full-year profit would be weaker than expected, knocked by
falling car production in recession-hit Europe, still key to
Faurecia’s fortunes despite efforts to diversify.

Tumbling European auto demand has hammered automakers
including Faurecia’s parent company PSA Peugeot Citroen
, which has announced plans to shutter a factory and
cut thousands of jobs.

Jul 17, 2012

C.Agricole in talks to sell Cheuvreux to Kepler

PARIS (Reuters) – Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is in exclusive talks to sell its Cheuvreux brokerage unit to financial services group Kepler Capital Markets, in the French lender’s latest move to shrink its investment banking business.

Credit Agricole, which has been cutting jobs in its investment bank, had been looking for a partner for Cheuvreux since Chinese group Citic Securities (600030.SS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) dropped plans to buy a 20 percent stake.

Jun 29, 2012

Vivendi shake-up sets off asset sale frenzy

PARIS, June 29 (Reuters) – Just three months ago Vivendi’s
veteran chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy, under fire
for a slumping stock price, said asset sales were “not taboo”.
Now that he’s quit, the group could be looking at a more
dramatic shakeup than he could have imagined.

Video game maker Activision Blizzard and Maroc
Telecom head up the list of candidates for sale,
analysts and bankers said, but his successors could now mull a
Murdoch-style split or even the sale of the SFR telecoms unit
which Vivendi grabbed control of just a year ago.

Jun 15, 2012

Carrefour exits Greece ahead of crucial election

PARIS (Reuters) – Carrefour (CARR.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Europe’s biggest retailer, is selling out of Greece in a sign companies are finding it increasingly difficult to do business in a country where demand has plunged due to a debt crisis and whose future in the euro is at risk.

The French group said on Friday it was selling its stake in a Greek joint venture to local partner Marinopoulos, which will become its franchisee.

Jun 14, 2012

Emporiki transfers units’ shares to Credit Agricole

ATHENS/PARIS, June 14 (Reuters) – Greek lender Emporiki,
majority owned by French bank Credit Agricole, said on
Thursday it was to transfer shares in its Albanian, Bulgarian
and Romanian units to its parent, completing a process that
started in 2009.

The move was the latest sign Credit Agricole is moving to
minimize any impact from a Greek exit from the euro, which
analysts have estimated could force a roughly 5 billion euro
($6.3 billion) writedown because of its exposure to Emporiki.

Jun 8, 2012

EADS bank plan would offer safe port in stormy times

PARIS/BEIJING, June 8 (Reuters) – By thinking of applying
for a banking licence, EADS is dusting off a plan once
designed to make it look as powerful as U.S. behemoth General
Electric Co – but which in today’s crisis just looks
attractive as a way of safeguarding its cash.

Departing Chief Financial Officer Hans Peter Ring surprised
European finance and industry last week by floating the prospect
that the world’s second largest aerospace group could transform
itself into a bank. The reason? The Airbus parent is now more
creditworthy than some of its crisis-hit lenders.

Jun 5, 2012

Virtuoso French banker Bernheim dies at 87

PARIS, June 5 (Reuters) – Legendary French banker Antoine
Bernheim, a master of high European finance and a fixture at
companies from Christian Dior to Le Monde, died on Tuesday, aged
87.

His death was announced by Vincent Bollore, another French
entrepreneur who was his frequent ally in boardroom battles at
Italian insurer Generali, where Bernheim ended up serving as
chairman for nearly a decade.

    • 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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