Societe Generale’s merger with UniCredit: A deal 15 years in making, will it go through this time?

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Updated: June 4, 2018 1:07:20 PM

UniCredit’s CEO Jean-Pierre Mustier has been pioneering the idea for several months, while Societe Generale directors too were said to have been studying the possibility of the collaboration.

UniCredit’s French CEO Jean-Pierre Mustier has been pioneering the merger idea for several months, the Financial Times said. (Image:Reuters)

While discussions over a proposed merger of Italian lender UniCredit with France’s Societe Generale are still on, according to a report, the consideration for the amalgamation is an idea which dates back to over 15 years! UniCredit’s French Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pierre Mustier has been pioneering the idea for several months, the Financial Times reported citing unidentified sources. Societe Generale directors too were said to have been studying the possibility of a collaboration although no formal approach has been made.

According to the report, the timetable for the proposed merger — a move that will see two of Europe’s largest banks coming together — had already been delayed by 18 months, which was originally planned, due to Italy’s volatile political situation. The news report said that a merger between the two banks has been considered by SocGen on several occasions over the past 15 years.

While the potential of the merger is still under question, bankers and analysts placed their bets on the timeframe for the two banks to come together. The FT quoted bankers saying that while Mustier was busy repairing the billions of euros of non-performing loans that lie in UniCredit’s kitty, neither group would be ready to proceed with a deal for at least a year. Analysts were of the view that SocGen, with cases pending with investigating authorities over its involvement in certain scandals, was not in a position to do any deals either.

According to the report, Mustier, an investment banker who once worked with SocGen, considers the French bank an ideal partner for the Italian lender. UniCredit’s CEO Mustier is credited with having turned around the bank’s fortune whose share prices have already surged by 27 percent since he took over the post in the summer of 2016.

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