SocGen, Alliance Bernstein in global equities venture

Paris-based Societe Generale, France’s third-biggest listed bank, and US investment management company Alliance Bernstein have announced a plan to form a joint venture combining their cash equities and equity research businesses.

Societe Generale said it intends to take a 51% interest in the joint venture, with an option to reach 100% ownership after five years.

It said the joint venture would be run as a long-term partnership under the Bernstein name, headquartered in London.

Upon closing, Robert van Brugge, CEO of Bernstein Research Services, would become CEO of the new entity for an initial term of five years, and Stephane Loiseau, head of Societe Generale’s cash equities business, would become deputy CEO.

“For both Societe Generale’s and Bernstein Research Services’ clients, including corporate and financial institution issuers as well as institutional investors, this new joint venture would offer a comprehensive global suite of world-class services across cash equities and research, combined with Societe Generale’s integrated equity capital markets, equity derivatives and prime services platforms,” said Societe Generale.

“The joint venture would provide premier investment insights into the American, European and Asia Pacific equity markets, in addition to unparalleled liquidity access and leading global trading technology.

“The merged entities would bring complementary strengths and a shared vision of a leading full-service equity brokerage business to support the needs of global investor and issuer clients.

“Societe Generale and Bernstein Research Services are committed to fostering a strong cultural identity for the joint venture, building on Bernstein Research Services’ long-standing history of renowned fundamental research and both organizations’ innovative quantitative approaches that have been core to their success.

“This new joint venture aims to expand these strengths and bring in new and unique perspectives, expertise and insights to better serve its clients.”

Slawomir Krupa, head of global banking and investor solutions, Societe Generale, said: “This partnership with one of the most recognized firms in research and cash equities, combined with our global leadership in equity derivatives, would create an undisputed leader across the equity business for the benefit of our issuer and investor clients.”

AllianceBernstein’s CEO Seth Bernstein said: “In Societe Generale, we have a strategic partner who is committed to strengthening and growing our world-class cash equities and research business.”

The proposed transaction has received the support of Societe Generale’s and AllianceBernstein’s boards of directors.

The closing is expected to occur before the end of 2023.

The transaction is subject to workers council consultation, approval of regulators, and customary closing conditions.