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People and Business: White out

PROMPTED BY BNP's hostile bid for Paribas/Societe Generale, a Parisian mole has told me the following tale.

When the integration team from Paribas met with their opposite numbers from Societe Generale last month to discuss how they would implement their proposed merger, the SocGen boys brought along some particularly impressive due diligence documentation.

The Paribas team was far less well prepared, my Parisian source tells me. One of them was so impressed with the flashy SocGen files that he leant over to have a look - and espied the name "Commerzbank" inadequately tippexed out on the cover of the folder. Perhaps they were trying to save money on stationery.