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BNP Paribas explores sale amid rumoured US retreat

JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs reportedly gauging interest


Kirsten Hastings

San Francisco-headquartered Bank of the West may be up for sale, according to several media sources.

Parent company BNP Paribas is looking to retreat from the American retail banking market because it is struggling to compete with larger and better capitalised rivals, sources told Reuters.

People familiar with the talks said that conversations are at an early stage and a deal is not guaranteed.

However, it could net the French bank up to $13bn, according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s senior banking analyst Jonathan Tyce – tempering earlier reports that a deal could be worth up to $15bn.

JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs Group are understood to be testing the waters with prospective buyers.  

All three firms declined to comment when approached by Reuters and Bloomberg.

BNP acquired Bank of the West in 1979, folding in other acquisition along the way, including United California Bank in 2001.