Kepler Capital Markets, an independent financial services firm, has entered into exclusive discussions to purchase French banking group Credit Agricole’s CA Cheuvreux European agency brokerage arm.
If completed, the acquisition would lead to the creation of Kepler Cheuvreux, an equity broker focused on continental Europe with sector and country research covering some 650 stocks.
The new brokerage would offer its services in 11 European markets and the US and would offer corporate customers of Credit Agricole – which will retain a stake and be a long-term partner in the new entity – access to 1,200 institutional investors globally.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to jointly build a leading brokerage business in Continental Europe,” said Laurent Quirin, CEO of Kepler. “Once the transaction has closed, we will become the European leader in equities. We are delighted to have established a strong partnership with Crédit Agricole CIB along the same lines as the successful ECM partnership that we have already implemented with UniCredit.”
Italian banking group UniCredit partnered with Kepler in November to create an equities unit offering cash equity research and execution services for western European stocks. This service includes distribution of Kepler’s equity research and analyst reports for various UniCredit divisions.
"UniCredit welcomes this agreement. We will be open to taking a minority stake in Kepler Cheuvreux and will explore a partnership in ECM with Crédit Agricole CIB to leverage off the strengths of each bank,” said Jean-Pierre Mustier, deputy general manager of UniCredit.
As part of its agency execution service, CA Cheuvreux converted its BLINK broker crossing network into a multilateral trading facility in April. The dark pool offers trading in 1,700 stocks across 14 markets and only includes liquidity from the firm’s clients as part of efforts to preclude high-frequency traders.
CA Cheuvreux and Kepler were unavailable for comment on how the acquisition would impact execution services for existing customers.