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Report: HSBC begins sale of French retail unit

HSBC Holdings PLC has started the sale of its French retail operations and has given several potential suitors an overview of the business, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The British banking group has reached out to possible buyers, including French banks Crédit Agricole SA, BNP Paribas SA, La Banque Postale SA, Crédit Mutuel Group and Milleis Banque, as well as private equity firms Apollo Global Management Inc. and Cerberus Capital Management LP, the sources told Bloomberg. Reuters reported in December 2019 that La Banque Postale was evaluating a potential bid for HSBC's French retail business.

In October 2019, HSBC mandated U.S. investment bank Lazard Ltd. to launch a sale process for the French retail unit as part of CEO Noel Quinn's plan to reduce costs across the group.

The sale, which includes the group's deposit base in France and about 230 retail branches, could reportedly reduce the number of the bank's employees by between 4,000 and 8,000.