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Brussels, 22 nd December 2009

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of asset management arm of Société Générale by Crédit Agricole

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of most of the activities of Société Générale Asset Management, a business division of the French-based Société Générale group, by Crédit Agricole Group, also based in France. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

The Société Générale Asset Management (SGAM) businesses to be acquired by Crédit Agricole include the majority of Société Génerále's European and Asian traditional asset management activities. Excluded from the scope of the acquisition are the non-"traditional" or "alternative" asset management activities in Europe, such as Lyxor Asset Management.

The Crédit Agricole Group is one of the main banking groups in France, and is active in asset management with a range of products for retail, institutional and corporate investors.

Under the proposed transaction, the SGAM assets would be pooled in a Holding Company over which Crédit Agricole would exercise sole control. Alongside the transaction, Société Générale agreed to sign long term agreements to distribute the Holding Company's assets, which will hence become its supplier of preference, via its retail distribution networks in France. These agreements may be assessed under EU antitrust rules separately from the present merger control procedure.

The proposed merger would bring together two leading French suppliers of asset management active in a number of European and other countries.

Following a referral to the Commission by Crédit Agricole, the Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that the main overlaps between the activities of SGAM and Crédit Agricole were in institutional and retail asset management in France. However, the Commission's investigation confirmed that although the combined firm would be a significant player in particular as regards the retail market, three other main providers of retail asset management products would remain active in France, in a market with a high degree of retail vertical integration between producers and distributors. A number of smaller players such as fund supermarkets and independent financial advisors as well as insurance companies also make up a competitive fringe. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction was not likely to raise competition concerns.

More information on the case will be available at:

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