Bloomberg News

Lloyds, Groupama to Seek Sale of Private Equity Stakes

June 27, 2012

Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY), the British government-backed lender, is seeking to sell about 1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) of private-equity fund stakes and French insurer Groupama SA is marketing more than 600 million euros in such positions, according to people briefed on the matter.

Lloyds, based in London, plans to shop a portfolio primarily made up of interests in European buyout funds, according to two people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Paris-based Groupama is seeking to sell stakes in buyout funds in the U.S. and Europe, along with some venture capital and mezzanine fund interests, as part of a planned sale of its private-equity unit, according to two other people.

Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis is forcing financial companies to shed units that aren’t central to their businesses and raise capital buffers to comply with regulatory requirements. Last year, Citigroup Inc., Barclays Plc, Credit Agricole SA and HSH Nordbank AG all sold private-equity positions in the secondary market, where existing stakes in funds are traded.

Ian Kitts, a spokesman for Lloyds, declined to comment. Christophe Humann, a spokesman for Groupama, didn’t return a call or an e-mail seeking comment.

Lloyds chose Campbell Lutyens & Co. to manage the planned sale. The bank has been selling assets to free up regulatory capital. Last year it brought to market a separate portfolio of about 500 million euros in private-equity assets.

Lloyds took a 20.3 billion-pound ($31.3 billion) taxpayer- funded bailout in 2008. The bank has divested assets that weren’t part of its main business, and in March agreed to sell 500 million pounds of leveraged loans to Bain Capital LLC’s debt-fund manager Sankaty Advisors LLC.

Groupama’s Holdings

Groupama’s private-equity holdings include funds managed by Stockholm-based EQT Partners AB, New York-based Insight Venture Partners and Blackstone Group LP, the people said. The French insurer in June formally started marketing its portfolio and has hired UBS AG to manage the process, according to the people.

Groupama has been selling off some business units following a loss last year from Greek debt writedowns. Allianz SE this month agreed to purchase property and casualty assets owned by Groupama’s Gan Eurocourtage industrial insurance unit.

Earlier this year, Groupama announced plans to sell its private-equity unit that invests in buyouts, offers mezzanine finance and invests in funds. The unit has 1.8 billion euros in assets under management across 16 funds, according to its website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sabrina Willmer in New York at swillmer2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net


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