Dresdner may join French bank bids

SHARES IN DRESDNER, the German banking giant, soared nearly 8 per cent yesterday amid feverish speculation that it may be preparing to enter the battle for Societe Generale and Paribas, whose $17bn (pounds 10.5bn) merger was gatecrashed by a $37bn counterbid from rival BNP on Tuesday night.

Some sources said Dresdner would mount its own bid for either SocGen or Paribas. Others say it might join BNP in its bid.

Bankers said BNP, in making the first hostile bid in the French financial sector in years, had effectively bust the French banking market wide open, creating the opportunity for a foreign bank to pull off a major deal. One banker said last night: "If someone wants one of them, now is the time to move."

Banking sources said that even if the BNP proposal collapsed after being rejected by both SocGen and Paribas yesterday, there was little doubt that all three banks were now effectively in play.

ABN Amro, the Dutch bank that had tentative discussions with both SocGen and BNP late last year, was watching the position carefully, as was General Electric, the US financial services giant known to be interested in some of Paribas's consumer finance businesses.

Banking sources said, however, that the pressure was very much on Dresdner, which has a 1 per cent cross-holding with BNP. "There is an assumption that Dresdner will be involved in some way."

However, its position is complicated by the fact that its largest shareholder. German insurer Allianz, is manoeuvring for a stake in Credit Lyonnais, the French bank that is due to be privatised this summer, and may not risk antagonising the French government.

SocGen and Paribas yesterday presented a united front, jointly appointing Rothschild & Cie to handle their defence. The two banks rejected the BNP offer, saying a three-way merger was a "hazardous venture" and unlikely to succeed.

There were strong suspicions yesterday that BNP chairman Michel Pebereau's real motive in launching the bid was to force the hand of the French government, which had effectively isolated the bank by giving its blessing to the earlier SG Paribas deal and then rejecting BNP's bid for a controlling stake in Credit Lyonnais.

Mr Pebereau said yesterday he would be prepared to consider a two-way deal with either target bank if the three-way plan he has proposed did not succeed.

Yesterday's developments rekindled takeover speculation throughout the European banking sector.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?