BNP bids vetoed

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THE BOARDS of French banks Societe Generale and Paribas last night each rejected the hostile $37bn (pounds 23.4bn) double bid from BNP, which gatecrashed their agreed merger on 9 March.

However, the votes were not unanimous; Claude Bebear, chairman of the insurance group AXA who sits on both boards, dissented in each vote, while Jean Gandois, representing BNP on the Paribas board, also voted against the decision to reject BNP's share-swap offer.

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