SocGen: No Comment on BNP Reports

Societe Generale has told Thomson Financial News it has no comment to make on a press report claiming it is studying the possibility of a takeover of French rival BNP Paribas.

Daniel Bouton, chairman of the bank, is understood to be working with two US banks, including Morgan Stanley, to study several scenarios for the acquisition of French rival BNP Paribas, according to Les Echoes online. A hostile bid is not ruled out, the business daily said, although the project does not have unanimous support within the bank.

“It's one more rumour that I am not going to comment on,” a spokesman told Agence France-Presse. Yesterday, rumours resurfaced of a possible merger between Socgen and Italy's UniCredit, which the bank also declined to comment on.

Les Echos cited its unnamed sources as saying the bank's management is split over merger opportunities and that Bouton is against a deal with UniCredit, favouring an-all French deal.

Midway last month, Bouton told unions that a merger with the Italian bank would be an “intelligent solution”, but on May 30 said a tie-up was neither necessary nor urgent.

At the same time he talked down rumours of a deal with BNP Paribas, commenting that he doesn't even need to think about it as “they themselves regularly repeat that it doesn't offer any benefit.”