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Rothschilds merging their French and U.K. banks

The Rothschild family will merge Rothschild & Cie Banque, the company that holds assets of the French side of the family, with Rothschilds Continuation Holdings AG, which holds assets of the family's British side, the family announced in a statement. The entities will be combined under French-traded Paris Orléans et Cie. SA, which will change to a limited partnership.

The move is being made "to tighten control over the assets before an eventual succession of the group's chief, David de Rothschild," Bloomberg reported. The Bloomberg article said:

The decision is part of a unification process between the two branches of the family that started when David de Rothschild took managerial control of the U.K. side of the bank after his cousin Evelyn de Rothschild retired in 2004. While David is the first French national to run the English half, the ownership of the investment bank has remained split between the two families. The plan simplifies the ownership of the banking operations worldwide and will help integrate the teams further.

According to the Bloomberg report, David de Rothschild will be chairman of PO Gestion, which is fully owned by the Rothschild family. PO Gestion will control Paris Orléans.

David de Rothschild's son Alexandre de Rothschild, 32, joined the family bank in 2009, the Bloomberg article said. David de Rothschild, who is now 69, plans to step down when he is between 72 and 76.

The Bloomberg article said Paris Orléans is offering to buy out minority shareholders at 17 euros ($22) per share. A Financial Times report said minority shareholders own about 30% of Paris Orléans.

Citing people close to the Rothschilds, the FT report said that while the family has made incremental changes to simplify its structure, it wanted a "big bang" to make its global operations more efficient. (Source: Bloomberg, April 5, 2012; Financial Times, April 4, 2012.)



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