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Axa and BNP Paribas: agreement in principle for the acquisition of Banque Directe

AXA and BNP Paribas have concluded an agreement in principle with regards to the acquisition by AXA Banque of 100% of the capital of Banque Directe, subsidiary of the BNP Paribas Group. This agreement is pending the opinion of employees representatives and the approval of the banking regulators.

- For AXA, the acquisition of Banque Directe would complement AXA's financial offering in France, by providing a well established banking platform to its clients and its distribution networks.

Through this acquisition, AXA reaffirms the key role of its distribution channels in its future growth and its ambition to position itself as a provider of global solutions including a banking offering.

- For BNP Paribas, the strategic value of Banque Directe was mitigated by the implementation in July 2001 of its multi-channel banking service. In addition to bank branches, this service allows clients to manage their accounts by phone or through the Internet, which enables bank agents to dedicate more time to sales and advice.

Furthermore, besides the general banking channel operating under the BNP Paribas brand, the Group has chosen to develop strongly its activities in specialised financial services, principally the four fields within which the Group occupies a leading European position, consumer credit, leasing, fleet management and specialised brokerage for individual savings.

This operation will reinforce the co-operation between AXA and BNP Paribas, through the development of partnerships with Cortal and Cetelem.


About BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas is a powerful efficient financial services group with solid roots in Europe, leading positions in Asia and an active presence in the United States. It is among the leading banks in the euro zone in terms of net profit and market capitalisation. BNP Paribas operates in 87 countries, employing 85,000 staff, including 65,000 in Europe. The group is focused on three core businesses; Retail Banking; Corporate and Investment Banking; Private Banking, Asset Management, Securities Services and Insurance.

About AXA

AXA Group is a worldwide leader in financial protection and wealth management. AXA's operations are diverse geographically, with major operations in Western Europe, North America and the Asia/Pacific area. AXA had Euro 910 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2001 and reported revenues of approximately Euro 75 billion for 2001. Revenues as of March 31, 2002 were Euro 21 billion. The AXA ordinary share is listed and trades under the symbol AXA on the Paris Stock Exchange. The AXA American Depository Share is also listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol AXA.


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