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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.

Jun 3, 2012

Argentine echoes for Credit Agricole in Greece

PARIS, June 4 (Reuters) – Everything looked normal at Credit
Agricole’s Argentine banks on a May Friday a decade
ago – as normal as could be expected in a country grappling with
a banking crisis after defaulting on its debts.

There were rumours of trouble afoot but that was hardly
surprising when panicky customers had been emptying cash
machines and lining up at branches to cash their paychecks.
Regulators insisted nothing was amiss.

Jun 1, 2012

Positive test boosts Sanofi MS drug hopes

PARIS (Reuters) – Sanofi reported positive results from a late-stage trial of its Aubagio multiple sclerosis drug, bolstering its chances of approval by regulators as it seeks to catch up with a fast-selling oral treatment from rival Novartis.

Sanofi said it found that a daily dose of the treatment, one of two multiple sclerosis drugs it has in late-stage development, reduced the rate of relapse by 36 percent compared with a placebo.

May 25, 2012

French banks plan for Greek euro zone exit-sources

PARIS, May 25 (Reuters) – French banks, which are among the
lenders most exposed to Greece, have stepped up their efforts on
contingency plans for the debt-laden country leaving the euro
zone, sources familiar with the situation said.

The heightened preparations by banks, including Credit
Agricole, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale
, come after euro zone sources told Reuters earlier
this week that each member of the common currency would have to
prepare a plan for a possible Greek exit.

May 22, 2012

Credit Agricole renews Greek liquidity line request

PARIS, May 22 (Reuters) – Credit Agricole has
renewed a request for the Greek Central Bank to grant its
Emporiki unit access to a liquidity facility, which has been
made available to some other local banks, the French bank’s
chief executive said on Tuesday.

Jean-Paul Chifflet said the request was part of a wider
range of measures aimed at reducing its potential exposure to
Greece, including 1.6 billion euros ($2.04 billion) in European
Central Bank financing for Emporiki.

May 15, 2012

French banks seen cutting thousands more jobs

PARIS, May 15 (Reuters) – France’s biggest banks are likely
to cut thousands more jobs, catching up with European rivals as
they grapple with a slowing economy, weak capital markets and a
looming regulatory clampdown by new Socialist president Francois
Hollande.

Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Credit
Agricole announced a first wave of layoffs, mainly in
investment bank and consumer credit businesses, late last year.

    • 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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