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In Play Today: HSBC starts French ops sale; Bank Audi mulls selling Egypt unit

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents In Play Today, a periodic summary of potential deal activity in the financial sectors of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This summary, which is displayed according to the location of a target's headquarters, is based on information obtained by S&P Global Market Intelligence and may not be inclusive of all potential deal activity.

Europe

* HSBC Holdings PLC has started the sale of its French retail operations and has given several potential suitors an overview of the business. 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.

* Activist investor Teleios Capital Partners LLC called on Aareal Bank AG to conduct a "competitive, dual-track process" for a full and minority sale of its software business Aareon AG, despite the German lender ruling out such a move in the short term. Teleios holds a 5.37% stake in Aareal Bank.

* The Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. is considering a potential sale, among other options, of Frankfurter Leben Holding GmbH & Co. KG, and is in talks with potential advisers about options for the German insurer, but the review is still at an early stage.

* The shares of State Development Corp. VEB.RF's Ukrainian unit PSC Prominvestbank, equivalent to a 99.77% stake in the lender, have been put up for sale again, with an auction slated for Feb. 11. The new auction will take place on Ukraine's PFTS Stock Exchange. The starting price for the stake was set at 266.05 million hryvnia.

* OTP Bank Nyrt. is considering purchasing more banks in Slovenia, looking to increase its market share in the country to about 25% to 30% from 9% in terms of balance sheet assets over the medium term. The Hungarian lender also plans to expand into new countries, potentially beyond Europe, and is evaluating some Asian countries. Also, it is seeking to withdraw from the Slovakian market before spring.

* U.K.-based NewDay Cards Ltd. is set to acquire retail finance platform Deko for up to £40 million, subject to regulatory approval. Deko will continue to run as an independent company after the acquisition.

Middle East

* Lebanon-based Bank Audi SAL would consider discussing a potential sale of its Egyptian subsidiary, Bank Audi (SAE), with interested parties if it were to receive an offer at the right price. The bank has yet to reach an agreement with any party, and the lender would need board and regulatory approvals for a possible transaction.

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