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BNP forks out $26b for Fortis units

Sydney Morning Herald – BNP Paribas SA, France’s biggest bank, agreed to take control of Fortis in Belgium and Luxembourg for 14.5 billion euros ($26 billion), completing a breakup of the lender after a government rescue failed.

BNP Paribas will pay 9 billion euros in stock and 5.5 billion euros in cash for 75% of Fortis Bank Belgium, all of the Belgian insurance operations and 67% of Fortis’s bank in Luxembourg, the Paris-based bank said in a e-mailed statement today. Fortis’s risky assets will be split off into a separate entity.

“It means excellent conditions for buying a network with a government guaranty,” said Emmanuel Soupre, a fund manager who helps oversee about $31 billion, including BNP Paribas shares, at Neuflize OBC Asset Management in Paris. “It’s like buying a home with all the works at the expenses of the old landlord.”

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