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In play today — Natixis looks to buy boutique firms; ATM maker NCR mulling sale

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In play today — Natixis looks to buy boutique firms; ATM maker NCR mulling sale

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a periodic summary of potential deal activity in the financial sector, including rumored transactions. This summary is based on information obtained on a best-efforts basis and may not be inclusive of all potential deal activity.

Banking

* Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Brady Gailey said Abilene, Texas-based First Financial Bankshares Inc. will entertain deals up to $1 billion in assets before it crosses the $10 billion or an approximately $3 billion asset deal to overcome the "Durbin decline" of approximately 5% of earnings.

* Activist investor CT Opportunity Partners I LP demanded an opportunity to see Downingtown, Pa.-based DNB Financial Corp.'s records, which includes the strategic alternatives the company's board has considered. The investor has previously sent multiple letters to the company about its business operations, including a potential sale, and has suggested DNB Financial engage with a financial adviser.

Financial Services

* French asset manager Amundi SA is looking to double its assets under management in Germany to €80 billion over the next three years. Head of Global ETF Trading Fannie Wurtz said the company is prioritizing organic growth, but it will also look at potential acquisitions.

* China-backed private equity firm XIO Group is mulling the sale of J.D. Power, a U.S.-based financial technology company that provides market research, Reuters reported, citing sources. J.D. Power could be valued at approximately $1.9 billion, inclusive of its debt, according to the report.

* United Capital Financial Partners Inc. CEO Joe Duran said M&A will still play a role in its growth even if the company expects most of its growth to be organic. The comments were made days after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it will buy the boutique registered investment adviser for $750 million.

* French investment bank Natixis SA is on the hunt for wealth management and M&A advisory firms as it pursues its strategy of acquiring small, specialist boutique firms. The Groupe BPCE unit has set aside about €2 billion for these deals, of which €600 million has been spent.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co. could be the first foreign company to own a majority of a Chinese mutual fund business if it acquires 2% of partner Shanghai International Trust Corp. Ltd.'s stake, Reuters reported. JP Morgan Asset Management currently owns a 49% stake in China International Fund Management Co. Ltd., while its partner owns the rest.

* ATM maker NCR Corp. is considering a sale after attracting interest from potential buyers, including private equity firms, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources.

* Citigroup Global Markets Inc. on April 30 shut down CitiCross alternative trading system, one of its three dark pools. The move was made amid Citigroup Inc.'s ongoing review of its equities business, which saw a 24% year-over-year drop in equity markets revenues in the first quarter.

Insurance

* CVC Capital Partners Ltd. is looking to sell unit Domestic & General Group Ltd. for £1.25 billion, Sky News reported. Sources said the company and its financial advisers have held talks with potential buyers, including Centerbridge Partners LP, Warburg Pincus LLC and Apax Partners LLP.

* MetLife Inc. is in the early stages of negotiations to sell its central European assets, which could be worth more than €2 billion, to Generali, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources.

* National Bank of Greece SA will soon talk with potential buyers for the sale of its insurance unit Ethniki Hellenic General Insurance SA, Reuters reported, citing CEO Paul Mylonas. The company expects to complete the sale by 2020.

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