HSBC will pay more than a billion to Cerberus to sell its branches in France.

The American investment fund would thus take over the network of 230 bank branches and 4,000 employees of the group's retail banking activity in France.

A sector in the red, showing big losses. 

British banking giant HSBC will pay more than one billion euros to the American investment fund Cerberus to sell all of its retail banking activities in France, the daily

Les Echos

revealed on Tuesday


As surprising as it may seem, Cerberus is therefore not going to pay to buy the network of 230 branches, but it is HSBC that is going to sign a huge check to separate itself from its division.

An astonishing operation, but a frequent one.

Pay to get rid of it

Several recent examples indeed illustrate this practice.

The French production company, Saint-Gobain, will also donate money to sell its Lapeyre DIY chain to a German fund.

La Redoute, again, was also sold a few years ago by giving money to its future owners.

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The idea is simple: when a group is very loss-making, the former owner prefers to pay to get rid of it rather than to bear the losses year after year.

And that is exactly what is happening for HSBC.

Bank branches are in the red and the group is not overwhelmed by takeover offers.

It is for this reason that the Sino-British will pay, according to information obtained by

Les Echos

, an amount of one billion euros to the American fund.

An unprecedented amount in France

From a source close to management, we do not deny this amount.

And if the facts are confirmed, it would be an unprecedented check in France for the sale of a bank asset, a sign that the agencies are no longer popular.

Attendance has indeed collapsed in recent years, a phenomenon which has accelerated even more with the Covid-19.


- Société Générale and HSBC: malaise in the banking sector

Even if the HSBC case is particular, since it is a very small network, all the big banks are closing branches by the hundreds and trying with difficulty to find the model of tomorrow.

Currently 8,500 employees work for the group in France, including 4,000 in its retail banking activity.