LONDON (CNNfn) - French authorities’ misgivings played a key role in the breakdown of ING's $10.2 billion bid for Credit Commercial de France, according to a press report Tuesday.|
Reservations on the part of the Bank of France were a factor in ING's surprise decision to rescind its offer late Sunday, the Financial Times said.
The newspaper reported that ING executives had a secret meeting Sunday with BoF Governor Jean-Claude Trichet. ING denied Tuesday it had felt any pressure from the regulator, and maintained that the reason for its abrupt withdrawal was an insufficiently positive response from CCF's board.
However, sources close to the deal told the FT that Trichet was unhappy with the way the deal was presented.
Paris banking sources told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday that ING had tried to move too fast, without taking the time to properly woo CCF management and the regulatory authorities.
ING made its offer to CCF's senior management late Friday. CCF's board met Sunday and publicly disclosed the Dutch approach, although it also said it hadn't had enough time to consider the offer properly. ING immediately withdrew the bid, which it had wanted to keep private until a deal was sealed.
ING's offer of 137.5 euros per share was at a premium of 15 percent over CCF's closing price of 119.8 euros Friday, at a level that banking analysts described as fairly well priced and possibly enough to attract CCF's two other major shareholders, KBC Bancassurance of Belgium and insurer Swiss Life.
ING owns shares equal to 18.8 percent of CCF’s voting rights, while Swiss Life has a 19.4 percent voting stake and KBC 15.4 percent.
The next step in the banking imbroglio is likely to come at Thursday's meeting of CCF's board. ING, which is represented on the board, is likely to press its case, while other interested parties - possibly including Swiss Life - may come forward. KBC said Monday it would not launch a bid of its own for CCF.
CCF stock jumped 5 percent Monday to 126 euros, and climbed further early Tuesday, reaching 126.90 euros.
-- from staff and wire reports