Sideways: Macron is Monsieur M&A
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Opinion

Sideways: Macron is Monsieur M&A

President Macron’s newfound zeal for cross-border financial M&A is creating a headache for France’s big banks.

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Photo: Reuters

Emmanuel Macron is often called the 'president of the rich' in France, and the former Rothschild banker did nothing to dispel this image in May when he gathered executives, including Wall Street bank chief executives, in Versailles to discuss investment.

Remarks Macron made at the summit to Bloomberg about cross-border financial services mergers and acquisitions created problems for the heads of big French banks, especially Societe Generale.

Macron said that “consolidation” is needed to foster an improved European single market and highlighted challenges faced by BNP Paribas in closing cross-border mergers.

It was his casual response to a question about whether a foreign bank like Spain’s Santander could acquire a French firm such as SocGen that drew headlines, however.

“Yes, for sure,” Macron said.

That was an unwelcome aside for SocGen’s Slawomir Krupa, who has been having a tough first year running the bank.

Krupa told SocGen’s annual general meeting last Wednesday (May 22) that cross-border European bank M&A remains “extraordinarily unlikely for a number of reasons” – such as capital charges for big banks.

That echoed an earlier response by Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO of BNP Paribas, to Macron’s enthusiasm for M&A, but also confirmed the impression that Krupa finds life at the top of a bank is just one problem after another.

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