BNP Paribas pushes into equities with play for Exane acquisition

BNP Paribas is aiming to acquire the remaining 50% stake in Exane, the investment firm it already part owns, in a major play to grab a bigger share of the equities market as European rivals scale back.

The French bank is pushing to expand into the stock trading, and the acquisition would bolster its position in both cash and equity derivatives, it said in a statement announcing the deal.

The move follows BNP Paribas’ acquisition of Deutsche Bank’s prime finance and electronic trading unit, which the German lender offloaded as part of its broader strategic overhaul that saw it exit equities trading in 2019. The Deutsche acquisition could eventually save up to 800 jobs.

“We look forward to further enhancing our equities franchise and most actively supporting our clients as we join forces in an ever more integrated manner,” said Yann Gérardin, deputy chief operating officer and head of corporate and institutional banking at BNP Paribas in a statement. He told the FT that the bank was aiming to become one of the top three equities franchises in Europe.

READ HSBC cuts staff and shakes up executives in London equities unit

BNP Paribas expansion in equities comes as many European rivals have scaled back their ambitions in equities trading. Deutsche Bank no longer trades stocks, instead offering just research and equity capital markets services.

HSBC unveiled a fresh round of job cuts within its European equities division in February, and offered other senior staff the chance to move to either Paris or Hong Kong as part of the changes.

Meanwhile, Commerzbank said in February that it was shuttering its equities sales, trading and research unit, instead choosing to partner with a third-party to offer these services. Australian bank Macquarie cut 120 jobs in 2019 as it retreated from stock trading and research in Europe and the US. It instead entered a partnership with French broker Kepler Cheuvreux.

BNP Paribas first entered into a partnership with Exane 17 years ago, initially to offer equity research but has since expanded to include cash equities. The broker’s research offering regularly tops industry rankings, and the bank told FN previously that it hoped to capitalise on this to secure more equity capital markets work.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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