CITIC, Credit Agricole say looking at 50-50 brokerage link

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French bank Credit Agricole and CITIC Securities, China's biggest listed brokerage, have agreed on holding equal stakes in a proposed tie-up of brokerage activities, the companies said on Monday.

The two companies said that since they began talks in April they had made "substantial progress" in the talks on "developing a common strategic vision, agreeing on an appropriate transaction structure and laying the foundation for future cooperation principles."

They pledged to continue "negotiations on the definitive transaction agreements" on "the creation of a leading global integrated brokerage platform and Asia Pacific investment bank."

Originally it was envisaged that Credit Agricole would hold a 70-percent stake in the proposed worldwide joint venture.

But now they have agreed on holding equal stakes in a holding company that will include CLSA, Credit Agricole's Asia brokerage arm, its European brokerage CA Cheuvreux, CITIC Securities International, and Credit Agricole CIB's Asian Equity Capital Markets and M&A activities.

The tie-up, if agreed, would be subject to regulatory approval.

In March 2008, CITIC pulled out of a cross-investment plan with US investment bank Bear Stearns as the troubled US giant was being sold at a fire-sale price to JPMorgan Chase.

© 2010 AFP

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