SocGen Kills Two Birds With One Giant Check

Maybe three, if you count its yet-unconsummated (and possibly one-sided) love affair with UniCredit.
By Société Générale (Société Générale) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Société Générale (Société Générale) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

This weekend, it emerged that UniCredit’s French CEO, Jean-Pierre Mustier, thinks that the Italian lender would be much improved if it became significantly more French, specifically by merging with Société Générale, where he used to work. A hedge fund thought this would be something less than a good idea, given UniCredit’s status as an Italian bank and all that entails.

Unhelpfully for Mustier’s case, his lust for his old employer emerged just before this little tidbit.

Federal authorities slapped French bank Société Générale with more than $1.3 billion in fines on Monday for bribing the regime of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and for rigging global interest rates…. The bank had manipulated the rate in order to make the bank look healthier than it really was, and so that traders at the bank could make more money on deals that depended on the rate being kept lower, according to the indictment.

Why, that’s just what Caius Capital says UniCredit did with its €3 billion convertible bond issue. Truly, this is a match made in regulatory hell.

SocGen pays $1.3B to settle bribery, rate-rigging probes [N.Y. Post]
UniCredit seeks merger with SocGen [FT]
Hedge fund Caius says any UniCredit deal untenable until capital query resolved [Reuters]