Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
NEW! Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+ Try 7 Days Free

Credit Agricole stake in Italy's Banco BPM sparks bid speculation

Economy Apr 08, 2022 11:22AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Credit Agricole logo is seen outside a bank office in Reze near Nantes, France, May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio

By Valentina Za and Andrea Mandala

MILAN (Reuters) -France's Credit Agricole (OTC:CRARY) has become the single largest investor in Banco BPM after buying a 9.2% stake, raising the prospect of a full takeover bid and sending shares in Italy's third-largest lender sharply higher.

The move increases the French group's exposure to its main foreign market, where it has been playing an active role in ongoing banking consolidation.

While Credit Agricole said it had not sought supervisory approval to go above 10%, analysts pointed to the gradual stakebuilding since 2018 that preceded its $1 billion takeover of regional Italian lender Credito Valtellinese (CreVal) in 2021.

"We believe this is the first step that will bring the French peer to get, sooner or later, the control of Banco BPM. We witnessed the same process for CreVal," Bestinver said.

Credit Agricole had no comment. Two people close to the transaction said the rationale for the deal was to develop business lines and not to gain retail footprint.

Banco BPM has long been searching for a merger partner, with CEO Giuseppe Castagna seen as keen for his bank not to be swallowed by a bigger rival.

Under Italian rules a full takeover of Banco BPM from Credit Agricole would need approval from Italy's government and political sources said the investment had irked Italy's League party, traditionally seen as close to Castagna.

A strong presence in Italy's wealthy Lombardy region had made Banco BPM an attractive target for heavyweight UniCredit, which had readied a takeover offer before the Ukraine war and is now busy dealing with its large Russian exposure, sources had told Reuters.

Banco BPM's 200 billion euros ($217 billion) in assets at end-2021 compare with Credit Agricole Italy's 116 billion euros.

The two lenders held tie-up talks in 2020 which led nowhere. Banco BPM also sought in vain to strike what was dubbed a "merger of equals" with rival BPER Banca.


After losing nearly a fifth of its value since the start of the conflict, Banco BPM has a market capitalisation of just over 4 billion euros, giving the Credit Agricole stake a value of around 380 million euros.

Shares in Banco BPM rose 13% by 1500 GMT. Credit Agricole lost 0.5%.

The French lender said the investment, carried out by buying shares on the market and through a transaction with a leading international bank, would not significantly impact its core capital ratio.

Already tied to Banco BPM by a long-standing consumer finance joint venture, Credit Agricole said the deal strengthened its "solid relationship" with Banco BPM and aimed to expand the scope of their strategic partnerships.

It also shows its appreciation of Banco BPM's "solid franchise", good financial prospects and "strong and performing management team", it said.

Credit Agricole's Italian business dates back to 2007. Ten years later it took over three small failing banks for 130 million euros, while in 2016 its asset manager Amundi bought Pioneer Investments from UniCredit for 3.6 billion euros.

With Amundi's distribution agreement with UniCredit expiring in 2026, analysts said Credit Agricole was moving to secure an alternative sales network.

Banco BPM owns 19.4% of Italian asset manager Anima, whose shares rose 8% on speculation it could also play a role in any tie-up.

Banco BPM said the stake purchase had not been previously agreed between the two banks.

"The quality and importance of the investor, as well as the appreciation it expressed for our bank ... represent a clear acknowledgement of the value and potential of Banco BPM," the Italian bank said.

($1 = 0.9202 euros)

Credit Agricole stake in Italy's Banco BPM sparks bid speculation

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email