Kepler in exclusive talks to acquire Credit Agricole Cheuvreux

The corporate and investment banking unit of French lender Credit Agricole SA (EPA:ACA) has entered into exclusive talks to sell its Credit Agricole Cheuvreux (CA Cheuvreux) subsidiary to local financial services firm Kepler Capital Markets.

The transaction being negotiated will involve the merger of CA Cheuvreux into Kepler, a move that will form Europe’s leading independent brokerage, called Kepler Cheuvreux, the parties announced. The enlarged entity will have the biggest presence in European equity research, covering around 650 stocks.

The companies believe that the new group will be “unrivalled” in the scope of its corporate access offer and will include the biggest sales force on the continent. It is expected to have presence in 11 European financial centres and solid position in North America.

This new company will have Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Banking (CA CIB) as a partner and strategic stockholder as well as an equity capital markets (ECM) cooperation with Italy’s UniCredit SpA (BIT:UCG).

Through the strategic alliance, CA CIB will be able to offer its corporate clients the benefits of highly-ranked research and a distribution platform to more than 1,200 institutional investors around the world for ECM transactions.

UniCredit’s deputy general manager Jean-Pierre Mustier welcomed the memorandum of understanding (MoU), saying that the company will be open to acquiring a minority interest in Kepler Cheuvreux while exploring an ECM collaboration with CA CIB.

The parties did not reveal the terms of the transaction they are currently discussing.