Counsel in All Four October 2009 Transactions to Facilitate Repayment of French Government Investments in Banks

October 28, 2009

In October 2009, Cleary Gottlieb confirmed its pre-eminent position in the French banking sector by participating in all four transactions to facilitate the repayment of French government investments in capital securities of French banks.

The transactions started with a €4.3 billion rights offering by BNP Paribas, in which Cleary Gottlieb acted as deal counsel. The offering was made to finance the repayment of preferred shares that BNP Paribas issued in 2009 to SPPE (Société de Prise de Participations de l’Etat), the vehicle created by the French State in 2008 in connection with its bank capital investment program.

Société Générale followed with a €4.8 billion rights offering in which Cleary Gottlieb acted as counsel to Underwriters. The offering was made in part to finance repayment of subordinated notes and preferred shares that Société Générale issued to SPPE in 2008.

Cleary Gottlieb acted as counsel to BPCE (the lead bank of the Banque Populaire – Caisse d’Epargne group) in a €750 million issue of deeply subordinated notes. The transaction allowed BPCE to refinance part of the deeply subordinated notes that it issued to SPPE in 2008 and 2009.

Cleary Gottlieb again acted as issuer’s counsel in connection with three issues of deeply subordinated notes by Crédit Agricole (€550 million, £300 million and $1 billion), which refinanced the subordinated notes issued to SPPE by Crédit Agricole in December 2008.

Cleary Gottlieb has been a leader in innovative transactions for French banks for many years, acting on share offerings, hybrid capital securities, debt issuances and exchange offers, and mergers and acquisitions for the leading banks in the French market. The firm acted for BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Natixis (an affiliate of BPCE) in connection with SPPE’s first capital securities investments in December 2008.