BPCE has made a formal offer to acquire a 30 per cent stake in Natixis that it does not already own, integrating the investment banking unit into the broader French financial group after months of buy-out speculation.
In a statement, the bank announced that it offered €4 per share in the bid to acquire the remaining 29.3 per cent stake in Natixis, the French investment bank that has shaken its leadership team over the last 12 months after a difficult time. It follows from the announcement made by Natixis on 9 February that it had requested the suspension of the trading of its Euronext Paris shares in advance of the "forthcoming communication"
As part of the deal, BPCE would combine its investment banking, wealth management and asset management units under one "Global Financial Services" structure covering larger clients, it said. The group would also look to combine support functions in a bid to simplify the business, it added.
Natixis is looking to put a difficult period behind it through the buyout, with talks ongoing for months about a possible takeover by BPCE. The Financial Times reported in July that the bank was in discussions about a possible buyout.
The bank cut ties with its embattled asset management affiliate H2O in January, having already flagged a potential sale of its 50% stake in the firm in November. H2O has proved problematic for Natixis for more than a year. In June 2019, the bank was forced to reassure investors following concerns over some of its bond holdings linked to German entrepreneur Lars Windhorst, who has a history of bankruptcies.
H2O's Allegro Fund had its rating suspended by Morningstar due to questions about the "appropriateness and liquidity" of some corporate bonds owned by it. Subsequently, it dumped a large portion of private, non-rated debt and eliminated entry fees in an effort to curb investor outflows.
The concerns, along with some dramatic losses in its capital derivatives arm in the first half of 2020, contributed to the departure of Chief Executive François Riahi from "strategic differences" Later, he was succeeded by Nicolas Namias.