Societe Generale signals exit from Amundi in fund manager IPO

Societe Generale might sell its entire stake in Amundi, the money management operation it set up with Credit Agricole five years ago, as Europe's banks come under pressure to bolster capital.

The two French lenders said Wednesday they're planning an initial public offering of the fund manager, which oversees about €954 billion ($1.1 trillion), this year. Credit Agricole, which owns 80% of Amundi, will keep a majority stake. Societe Generale owns 20%.

“The purpose of the flotation is to underpin the continuing development of Amundi and provide liquidity to Societe Generale,” the companies said. Amundi will remain the “provider of reference for savings and investment solutions” for Societe Generale's retail and insurance networks for at least five years, they added.

Europe's banks are selling assets to bolster capital in the wake of the region's debt crisis. Societe Generale sold TCW Group, its U.S. money management arm, in 2012 in a deal that valued the operation at about $800 million, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Societe Generale transferred a 5% stake in Amundi last year to Credit Agricole in return for sole ownership of derivatives brokerage Newedge Group, which had previously been jointly owned by the two banks.