SocGen to Seek Buyer for $175 Billion Fund Arm After Review

Societe Generale SA has decided to pursue a sale of its Lyxor asset management business after a yearlong strategic review, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The French bank is working with an adviser as it seeks a buyer for the division, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. SocGen started exploring options for the business last year and has been informally gauging interest in different parts of the unit, the people said.

Lyxor, one of Europe’s largest providers of exchange-traded funds, manages about 149.8 billion euros ($174.8 billion) in assets, according to its website. A sale of Lyxor would add to a number of attempted disposals by SocGen Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea, who’s been trying to shore up the bank’s capital buffers and boost profitability.

No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the discussions will result in a sale, the people said. A representative for SocGen declined to comment.

In recent years, SocGen has divested its Nordic leasing operations as well as its Belgian private bank. The lender was also trying to sell its U.K. private bank Kleinwort Hambros, though it decided to keep the business after several suitors dropped out of the process, Bloomberg News reported in February.

Lenders have been reviewing their asset management operations, which are generally capital-light but require scale to compete as the industry’s fees increasingly come under pressure. Bank of Montreal and Wells Fargo & Co. are among firms that have been exploring options for their fund units, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

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