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Banking

France: Natixis raises the roof

Investor doubt evaporates.

Doubts about investor confidence in Natixis, the investment bank and asset management group created through the merger of Natexis and IXIS Corporate and Investment Bank, were silenced by the success of the bank’s equity transaction in December.

Natixis raised €4.22 billion in what was technically a secondary placement of shares because Natexis had been a publicly listed company, but was widely seen as an IPO for the newly merged bank. The deal attracted close to €12 billion of demand, including €4.4 billion from retail investors, mainly customers of the Banques Populaires retail bank network for which the new bank is a centralized product factory.

The deal is the largest in France since the €7.5 billion listing of Electricité de France in 2005.

Sanpaolo IMI and DZ Bank, long-time partners of Natexis and Ixis, also took advantage of the capital-raising to take strategic stakes in the bank.

The deal gave Natixis a market capitalization of €24.8 billion, comparable to the investment banking businesses of BNP Paribas and SG.

Although the bank’s valuation had not come with as big a discount relative to its peers that some were expecting, the issuer held back from pricing the deal more aggressively.

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