BNP Paribas to acquire brokerage firm Sharekhan

French banking giant BNP Paribas SA has agreed to buy Indian brokerage firm Sharekhan for an undisclosed sum as it looks to strengthen its retail broking operations in India.

BNP Paribas today said it had reached an agreement with the company's shareholders for BNP Paribas SA to acquire 100 per cent of Sharekhan.

BNP Paribas, which offers solutions to clients through its corporate and institutional banking and international financial services activities, said Sharekhan will become a part of BNP Paribas' Personal Investors division, which is a key player in retail brokerage and digital banking services with 1.7 million clients in Europe.

Mumbai-based Sharekhan is an independent retail brokerage firm offering broking solutions across all asset classes to more than 1.2 million private clients.

With 7 per cent market share in terms of number of accounts, Sharekhan is the first independent and third-largest retail brokerage firm in India.

''Internet focused since its creation in 2000, it is today one of the most well-known online brands in India and has been constantly profitable over the last twelve years,'' BNP Paribas said in a release.

''We are very pleased to welcome all Sharekhan staff and clients into our group. Sharekhan will serve as a platform for the group's strategy in India to offer a comprehensive range of products from pure brokerage to asset based investment services including mutual funds and savings products. The purchase of Sharekhan is a unique opportunity for us to build on our achievements in the Indian market and to further expand our business in India,'' Joris Dierckx, country head of BNP Paribas India, stated.

BNP said the completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

The deal is BNP's second big acquisition in the retail broking business in India after the company bought a 34-per cent stake in domestic brokerage Geojit and renamed it BNP Geojit Paribas Financial Services.

BNP Paribas was one of the first foreign banks to establish a presence in India in 1860. It now has branches in eight major cities.

The bank offers a wide range of financial services covering corporate and institutional banking, transaction banking and wealth management. In addition, BNP Paribas has subsidiaries and strategic partnerships that offer solutions from International Financial Services businesses.