French banking group Banque Nationale de Paris won control of the Paribas investment bank but failed to get a majority stake in Societe Generale, foiling its five-month-long attempt to create the world's first trillion-dollar bank, financial officials said today.
The official announcement was not expected until Tuesday, but a series of leaks in the French media appears to have prompted the Council of Financial Markets to release the figures early, during one of France's biggest holiday weekends.
BNP failed to get its target 35 percent of Societe Generale's votes, but BNP released a statement claiming that winning nearly 37 percent of Societe Generale's shares was enough to constitute control.
To prevent the now-isolated Societe Generale from falling into the hands of foreigners, French authorities may act to allow the three-way merger to take place.
Provisional figures released by the council indicated that BNP won 65.1 percent of the capital of Paribas and 36.8 percent of Societe Generale.
The council also said that BNP would have 31.5 percent of voting rights in Societe Generale and a comfortable 65.2 percent in Paribas.
As news of the unofficial results filtered out Friday, both Societe Generale and Paribas stock closed up, with only BNP down slightly.
The banking war, which will contribute to the consolidation of the stodgy French banking sector, began in March when BNP made a surprise $37 billion offer a month after Societe Generale and Paribas had announced a frendly .