It took longer than expected and the price was less than hoped for but Bank of America has a definitive agreement to sell its equity prime brokerage business to BNP Paribas. BofA put the unit up for sale in January; it hoped for an $800-million deal, press reports say. BNP Paribas expressed commitment and delight in its press release. Jacques d’Estais, global head of corporate an investment banking at the French institution, said the group is “well positioned to continue to grow organically or through targeted bolt-on acquisitions.”
BofA didn’t bother issuing a press release. But the bank still views itself as a player in the equities market, says spokesperson Melissa Kitlowsky in an interview: “We are deeply committed to the equities platform broadly and to serving the hedge fund community in a dynamic fashion through investment ideas that will help them deliver returns, execution solutions and capital raising.” BofA will continue to “provide core hedge-fund client services,” she adds, including “securities lending and total return swaps.” So is that the “fun” part, Mr. Lewis?