Credit Agricole has hired bankers to study a possible approach for Societe Generale, a newspaper report said, linking France's third-largest bank with a possible bid battle for control of wounded SocGen.
A day after the country's biggest listed bank BNP Paribas confirmed it would look at making an offer for its cross-town rival, Les Echos said Credit Agricole had hired Lazard and its own investment bank Calyon to study SocGen, the number-two player.
A Credit Agricole spokesman declined to comment.
SocGen has been weakened by $7.3 billion of losses blamed on a rogue trader and is now the subject of rampant bid speculation.
SocGen declined to comment on newspaper reports it had hired Merrill Lynch and Rothschild for its bid defence.
BNP tried and failed to acquire SocGen in 1999. Since the scandal broke a week ago there has been speculation of a joint breakup bid in which Credit Agricole would take SocGen's investment banking arm and BNP the retail side of the operation.
BNP has hired Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers for its potential approach, Les Echos said. BNP was not immediately available for comment.
Leading government figures have made it clear they do not want any foreign bidders going after SocGen, which shocked financial markets last week with news of the trading loss that it has blamed on a single trader, Jerome Kerviel. (Reuters)
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