FRANCE/BELGIUM - BNP Paribas has come a step closer to acquiring Fortis Holdings after it reached a deal with the Belgian government that would see it buy Fortis in a cash and shares deal.
The deal still needs to be approved by Fortis shareholders at a meeting on April 8. A previous deal had been blocked by shareholders in February.
BNP chief executive Baudouin Prot said new shareholders, who did not vote in February, have told BNP and the Belgian government that they support the deal.
Prot also said Dutch shareholder association, VEB, is also ready to support the agreement. He added that officials will likely hold discussions with Ping An, the Chinese insurer who voted against the previous deal.
Prot said: "We are confident that we should have a clear majority."
If it goes ahead, the acquisition should significantly boost BNP's asset management business.
In a statement, BNP Paribas said: "The new group will also enjoy greater scale in the strategic businesses of asset management and private banking, with more than €660bn in assets under management for the combined group.
"It will rank among the top three players in Belgium, Luxembourg and France, offer complete coverage of Western Europe in terms of asset management, and hold key positions in Asia."
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