By Gwénaëlle Barzic
PARIS (Reuters) – HSBC is set to announce the sale of its retail banking operations in France to private equity group Cerberus on Friday, three sources familiar with the matter said, after struggling to offload a business that will need restructuring.
The bank had entered final negotiations with Cerberus several months ago, as part of its efforts to slash costs across the group.
A spokesperson for HSBC confirmed that a meeting was scheduled with labour unions on Friday to discuss retail banking operations, but declined to comment further. Cerberus declined to comment.
Two of the sources said HSBC was also due to hold a board meeting related to the deal on Friday.
Bidders who had circled the business had wanted it to be fully recapitalised and for HSBC to put money into it, sources had previously told Reuters.
HSBC is expected to put around 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) into the business as part of the deal with Cerberus, according to a fourth source close to the matter, echoing reports in French media of an injection of up to 1.5 billion euros.
HSBC’s French retail business has 230 branches and employs some 3,900 staff. Lazard is advising on the sale.
($1 = 0.8409 euros)
(Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; Additional reporting by Lawrence White in London; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Pravin Char)