Friday 17 January 2020

HSBC readying French operations for sale

Interim CEO of HSBC Noel Quinn
Interim CEO of HSBC Noel Quinn

Jan-Henrik Foerster and Myriam Balezou

HSBC Holdings has kicked off the sale of its French retail operations, part of a push by interim CEO Noel Quinn to cut costs at Europe's largest lender by assets, sources said.

The bank has sent out an overview of the business to potential buyers, they said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

HSBC is said to be gauging interest from possible suitors including rival French lenders La Banque Postale, Credit Agricole, Credit Mutuel, Milleis Banque and BNP Paribas.

It has also reached out to potential private- equity buyers including Apollo Global Management and Cerberus Capital Management. HSBC is working with Lazard on the sale, the sources said.

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Any buyer would gain HSBC's deposit base in France as well as about 230 retail branches and could take up to 8,000 workers off HSBC's payroll.

The move follows an exit by competitor Barclays, which sold its French retail and wealth management business in 2017 to private-equity firm AnaCap Financial Partners.

Bloomberg

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